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Roll-Mecak, Antonina Whitman Center Scientist, Whitman Center

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In addition to providing structural support, microtubules form a complex and dynamic intracellular “highway” that delivers molecular cargo from one end of the cell to another, which in the case of neuronal cells can span several feet. Given the continually changing cell physiology, this delivery system undergoes constant remodeling as cargo is transported to different destinations with high temporal and spatial accuracy. Failures in this highly coordinated transport system lead to disease and mutations in genes that encode microtubule dynamics regulators have been implicated in neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and viral infections. Not surprisingly, tubulin, the building block of the microtubule network is one of the most post-translationally modified proteins in the cell. Dr. Roll-Mecak’s laboratory combines biophysical and cell biological approaches to understand the interplay between microtubules and their regulators and how tubulin post-translational modifications tune the behavior of motors and microtubule associated proteins.

selected publications