What Makes a Neuron Stick? Systematic Characterization of the Ventral Membrane of Differentiating Neuronal Cells Using Quantitative Proteomics

Project: Research

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  • Yun Wah LAM (Principal Investigator / Project Coordinator)Department of Chemistry
  • Kelvin Wai-kwok YEUNG (Co-Investigator)


When neurons or neuronal cancer cells are cultured in vitro, they adhere to the dish, then spread their cytoplasm into elongated structures in a process that mimics axonal growth in vivo. While this process has been a subject of intense research for decades, its precise mechanism, especially how the interactions between the cells and the substratum mediate the changes in cell shape, is not clearly understood. This proposal is for a 12-month feasibility study (with the aim of generating preliminary data for the application of a full-blown research grant next year) on the isolation and characterization of the ventral membrane of neuronal cells PC12. The ventral membrane is the cell surface at the interface of the cell-substratum contact, and a clear molecular study of this surface will provide previously unavailable data on the adherence and extension of cells during neurite outgrowth. We plan to identify proteins in the isolated PC12 ventral membrane by SILAC-based proteomics, and to map the dynamics of the ventral membrane proteins at different stages of PC12 differentiation. The outcome of this project is a detailed molecular anatomy of the interacting surface of neuronal cells and the solid substratum, and how this surface changes during axonal development and guidance.


Project number7002573
Grant typeSRG
Effective start/end date1/05/102/11/11