How do oligodendrocytes make stereotyped decisions to myelinate some axons, but not others? This cell-cell recognition process is biased by neural activity, and nascent sheaths are stabilized by activity-dependent secretion from axons (Hines et al., 2015 Nature Neuroscience). We are using in vivo and in vitro approaches to address how oligodendrocytes recognize specific axon subtypes, stabilize interactions, initiate ensheathment, and stabilize myelin sheaths.
White matter plasticity & repair
An emerging area of importance in the myelin biology field is the adaptation of myelin ensheathment to changes in the environment. "Myelin plasticity" is required for mice to learn new motor tasks, suggesting general roles in neural processing and cognition (for example, see McKenzie et al. 2015, Science). Myelin plasticity is a new and understudied area of neurobiology. We are interested in the plasticity of myelination at the developmental stage of axon choice and initial wrapping. We have identified numerous neuronal sub-types that are normally myelinated or unmyelinated. How plastic are these choices?
Which genetic changes led to the appearance of myelinating glia in vertebrate animals?
Jan 2012 Single vesicle imaging indicates distinct modes of rapid membrane retrieval during nerve growth. BMC Biology 10:4. PubMed link
Nov 2011 Bidirectional remodeling of beta1-integrin adhesions during chemotropic regulation of nerve growth. BMC Biology 9:82. PubMed link
Apr 2011 Second messengers and membrane trafficking direct and organize growth cone steering. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 12(4):191-203. PubMed link
July 2010 Asymmetric endocytosis and remodeling of beta1-integrin adhesions during growth cone chemorepulsion by MAG. Nature Neuroscience 13(7):829-37. PubMed link