MARCKS Associated Signaling Complexes in Cortical Development

The cerebral cortex is a highly complex structure, with a vast diversity of cell types that must appropriately organize and form connections with each other. We have identified myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS) as a critical regulator of these processes. Most recently, we have identified a novel role for MARCKS in cortical axon navigation. During development, a critical class of neurons sends projections from one hemisphere of the cortex to the other, facilitating interhemispheric communication and integration of information. These neurons must sense a variety of cues as they navigate this environment.  MARCKS acts in a highly unique fashion to modulate this process, complexing with both ligands and receptors to fine tune navigation signals and ensure axons reach their appropriate destinations. This work will not only help us better understand how the cortex establishes its unique and intricate connectivity patterns, but could also lead to novel treatments for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Aims: To determine the cell autonomous and nonautonomous roles of MARCKS in cortical axon navigation.