Chao Sun, Ph.D.
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Host: Professor Michael Bowser
Neuronal Protein Synthesis and Degradation Machines
A single neuron hosts ~10000 synapses in its complex dendritic and axonal arbour. Its protein logistics is run by amazing molecular machines put together with exquisite precision, such as ribosomes (protein-synthesis machines) and proteasomes (protein-degradation machines). Meanwhile, protein synthesis and degradation is essential for information storage in the brain. How do protein-synthesis & -degradation machines meet the huge demands of parallel processing by numerous synapses? To investigate this, I visualized protein -synthesis & -degradation machines as well as newly synthesized proteins near numerous synapses using quantitative, multiplexed, single-molecule localization microscopy. Combined with metabolic labelling, biochemistry, and synaptic-activity manipulations, these studies mapped and measured the subcellular protein-synthesis & -degradation capacity in complex neurons. The single-molecule resolution further affords intriguing insights into the subcellular adaptation of molecular machine assembly and function.
Dr. Chao Sun is an EMBO & HFSP postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Erin M. Schuman's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. He uses quantitative, multiplexed super-resolution microscopy to investigate the molecular resource supply for the vast population of synapses associated with a single neuron. Chao obtained his PhD with Prof. William R. Dichtel at Cornell University (2013-2016) and later at Northwestern University (2016-2018). where he designed and manipulated molecular interactions to interface two-dimensional materials and molecular analogues for creating smart nano- materials and devices. His future research continues to focus on understanding and creating molecular systems that can 'think'.