Mathematical Biology seminar

Gheorge Craciun
Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State Univesity
"Mathematical Models of Neurofilament Transport in Axons"
Wednesday January 19, 2005
3:05pm in LCB 215

Neurofilaments are space-filling cytoskeletal polymers that increase axonal cross-sectional area, thereby influencing axonal conduction velocity. Impairments in neurofilament transport can result in abnormal accumulations that obstruct the transport of other axonal cargo, and are involved in several neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and giant axonal neuropathy. We present mathematical models for neurofilament transport, based on interactions between neurofilaments and microtubules, mediated by motor proteins. These models are consistent with fluorescence microscopy experiments in cultured neurons, and with radio-isotopic pulse labeling experiments in vivo. Using these models we test several hypotheses concerning the mechanism for neurofilament transport.