Can drug-like mimetics of BDNF promote remyelination after injury?

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Department
Anatomy and Neuroscience
Location
Medical Building
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Junhua Xiao xiaoj@unimelb.edu.au +61 3 9035 9759 Personal web page

Summary This project aims to investigate whether we can develop methods to selectively and independently activate either TrkB or p75NTR, and use these to promote myelin repair in vivo.

Project Details

We have found that BDNF activates distinct receptors to regulate myelination: BDNF activates the receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB to promote CNS myelination, but activates the p75NTR neurotrophin receptor to promote PNS myelination.  This project aims to investigate whether we can develop methods to selectively and independently activate either TrkB or p75NTR, and use these to promote myelin repair in vivo.  To this end, we have developed two novel low molecular weight peptides of BDNF designed to selectively activate its receptors:

TDP6 – Tricyclic dimeric peptide 6 (TDP6) is a small multicyclic peptide that structurally mimics the region of BDNF that binds TrkB.  We have confirmed that TDP6 acts as a TrkB agonist and promotes oligodendrocyte myelination in vitro.  This project will investigate whether TDP6 can also promote myelin repair in an animal model of CNS demyelination.

cyclo-dPAKKR – is a cyclic pentapetide that structurally mimics the region of BDNF that binds p75NTR.  We have confirmed that cyclo-dPAKKR significantly promotes Schwann cell myelination in vitro and peripheral myelination in vivo.  This project will investigate whether cyclo-dPAKKR can also promote myelin repair in an animal model of PNS demyelination.

We are interested in examining whether selectively targeting BDNF receptors through these peptides is a strategy that can promote myelin repair. Myelinated axons in the adult mouse corpus callosum, imaged by spectral reflectance confocal microscopy

Figure 1: Myelinated axons in the adult mouse corpus callosum, imaged by spectral reflectance confocal microscopy (Photo credit Sang Won Yoo)



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Therapeutics & Translation



Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Anatomy and Neuroscience

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Murray & Xiao laboratory: Neurotrophin and myelin

Research Node

Medical Building

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