Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration
Marijn Kuijpers´s group investigates how membrane trafficking events and organelles contribute to synapse function.
We are fascinated by how synapses are formed, function and can be maintained. The main interest of the lab is to understand the molecular events that underlie these processes, in particular the contribution of synaptic organelles. Using rodent and human neuron cultures as primary model systems, we combine advanced imaging techniques and biochemistry to approach cell biological questions from multiple angles.
-Keeping the Synapse in Shape: Local Protein Removal -
Brain function relies on neurotransmission at synapses, where fast increases in calcium trigger the fusion of synaptic vesicles and release of their neurotransmitters. Synapses maintain their molecular composition and function through the concerted action of protein synthesis and degradation. Our research group aims to understand how old, dysfunctional synaptic components are removed to keep synapses functional over long periods of time.
-The Organization and Function of the Neuronal ER –
Membrane trafficking events and local organelles contribute to synapse functioning. The neuronal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) extends for hundreds of microns as a huge network throughout the highly branched neurites and even into synapses. ER tubules serve important functions in regulating membrane proteins, lipids and Ca2+ levels. Despite the importance of this huge organelle and its involvement in a range of neurodegenerative diseases, we know little about how the tubular ER, and its associated proteins, contributes to neuron development and neurotransmission.
Fundamental information on mechanisms of intracellular degradation and organelle organization will not only help us to understand how individual synapses work, it may also lead to insights on the role of these particular processes in neurodegenerative diseases that involve ER or proteostasis dysfunction.
Faculty of Science
6525 AJ Nijmegen
|Postal address:||Faculty of Science
P.O. Box 9010
Internal Mailbox 91
6500 GL Nijmegen
Key grants and Prizes
2022 - ERC-starting Grant synERgy
dr. Marijn Kuijpers
(update September 2023)