Dr Megan Oliva
Axonal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) forms an intracellular tubular network,
continuous throughout neurons; its long-range continuity could carry signals
independently of action potentials, like a “neuron within a neuron”. An important
role for it is implied by many mutations for the motor axon disease, hereditary
spastic paraplegia (HSP), affecting proteins that model tubular ER. My host lab
has shown that loss of HSP genes can disrupt ER organisation in Drosophila
axons, allowing study of the roles of the ER network there. I am testing the roles
of ER continuity in localised and long range calcium signaling in axons. I have generated flies carrying calcium sensors in and around axon ER, to monitor calcium flux. I am testing whether mutations that disrupt the axon
ER network affect such fluxes.
This work should reveal the role of axon ER in processes central to cellular
coordination and degeneration in neurons.
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