Kelly Barford, B.S., Biochemistry, Virginia Polytech Institute and State University
Considering a neuron’s size and polarity, membrane and receptor trafficking presents a large obstacle. Much of membrane trafficking is thought to occur through endocytosis, which is key for such actions as receptor recycling, degradation of proteins, synaptic plasticity, and axonal pathfinding. While much is known about endocytosis in other cell types, neuronal endocytosis is not well understood. My project focuses on the endosomal protein neuron-enriched endosomal protein of 21 kD (Neep21). Neep21 has been shown to be involved in the trafficking of a variety of neuronal receptors and to interact with β-amyloid precursor protein. In the Winckler lab, I will be studying the signaling and trafficking events involving Neep21 in order to better understand the neuronal endosomal system.