Theses

Two new postdoc fellows to join GDNF team in the Fall

Maritina Sergaki obtained a PhD in molecular and cellular neurobiology in June 2009 at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology of the Hellenic Pasteur Institute in Athens, Greece, under the direction of Prof. Rebecca Matsas. During her PhD, Maritina generated and characterized a mouse mutant for the neuronal protein BM88, also called Cend1. She discovered morphological abnormalities in the cerebellum of the mutants as well as motor deficits. Since her PhD, Maritina has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens under the direction of Prof. Irini Skaliora. Her project aimed at elucidating differential roles of ERK1 and ERK2 kinases in synaptic plasticity.

Miriam Schiff completed her PhD thesis in neuroscience in April 2010 at the Dept. of Cellular Chemistry, Hannover Medical School, Germany, under the direction of Prof. Herbert Hildebrandt. During her thesis, entitled “Development of the dopaminergic system and the reticular thalamic nucleus in polysialic acid-deficient mice“, Miriam investigated the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons and the formation of thalamocortical and corticothalamic projections as well as the reticular thalamic nucleus in a mutant mouse lacking the two known polysialic acid synthases STX and PST.

New paper linking SHP2 phosphatase to RET signaling out in the JBC

Our latest paper has been made available today at the Papers In Press site of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Perrinjaquet et al. JBC 2010). This work identifies the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 as a novel direct interactor of the receptor tyrosine kinase RET. SHP2 is the first effector known to bind to phosphorylated Tyr687 in the juxtamembrane region of the receptor. SHP2 recruitment contributes to the ability of RET to activate the PI3K/AKT pathway and promote survival and neurite outgrowth in primary neurons. Together with other findings, this work establishes SHP2 as a novel positive regulator of the neurotrophic activities of RET, and reveal Tyr687 as a critical platform for integration of RET signals. We anticipate that several other phospho-tyrosines of unknown function in neuronal receptor tyrosine kinases will also support similar regulatory functions. Read the full paper HERE.