Killam Seminar Series: Programmed Axon Death and its Roles in Human Disease
The Killam Seminar Series at The Neuro
Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, The Neuro’s Killam Seminar series hosts outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at The Neuro and McGill University.
Registration is available now on Eventbrite. ZOOM link sent to registrants.
Vimeo (livestreaming) https://vimeo.com/event/266553
Speaker: Dr. Michael Coleman
Axons degenerate before the neuronal soma in many neurodegenerative diseases. Programmed axon death (Wallerian degeneration) is a widely-occurring mechanism of axon loss that is well understood and preventable in animals. Its aberrant activation by mutation of the pro-survival gene Nmnat2 directly causes axonopathy in mice with severity ranging from mild polyneuropathy to perinatal lethality. Rare biallelic mutations in the homologous human gene cause related phenotypes in patients. NMNAT2 is a negative regulator of the prodegenerative NADase SARM1. Constitutive activation of SARM1 is cytotoxic and the human SARM1 locus is significantly associated with sporadic ALS. Another negative regulator, STMN2, has also been implicated in ALS, where it is commonly depleted downstream of TDP-43. In mice, programmed axon death can be robustly blocked by deletion of Sarm1, or by overexpression, axonal targeting and/or stabilization of various NMNAT isoforms. This alleviates models of many human disorders including some forms of peripheral neuropathy, motor neuron diseases, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury, and it confers lifelong rescue on the lethal Nmnat2 null phenotype and other conditions. Drug discovery programs now aim to achieve similar outcomes in human disease. In order to optimize the use of such drugs, we have characterized a range of human NMNAT2 and SARM1 functional variants that underlie a spectrum of axon vulnerability in the human population. Individuals at the vulnerable end of this spectrum are those most likely to benefit from drugs blocking programmed axon death, and disorders associated with these genotypes are promising indications in which to apply them.
The event will be live streamed via VIMEO.