Understanding the Role of VEGF Receptor Proteins in Glutamate Neurons



Meunier, Angela, “Understanding the Role of VEGF Receptor Proteins in Glutamate Neurons,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed August 12, 2020, https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/471.


Understanding the Role of VEGF Receptor Proteins in Glutamate Neurons


Meunier, Angela




Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and its receptor (VEGFR) have a well-understood role as a ligand and receptor tyrosine kinase pair that influences the growth of vascular-ized endothelial tissues. VEGFR has recently been found to play a role in AMPA type glutamate receptor (GluR1) endosomal recycling. Although the mechanism for this is still unknown, the re-cycling of GluR1s from the cell surface to the early endosome and back via endosomal vesicles is critical to the strength of glutamate signaling across the synapse. Since neuron morphology is sig-nificantly different than that of endothelial tissue, the hypothesis of this research is that glutamate signaling can be modulated by altering VEGFR concentration through motor proteins specific to neuronal transport. The model organism C. elegans was studied to determine genes that regulate intracellular transport of neuronal VEGFR related protein VER-1 along the ventral nerve cord. In vivo assays were performed using a fluorescently tagged VER-1. To determine if this tag interfered with protein function, glutamate dependent spontaneous reversal assays were performed. Transport of VER-1 was observed via fluorescence microscopy and transformed into kymographs that graphically represent spatial position over time. In future studies, RNAi will be used to create knockdowns of target protein expression; changes in speed and direction of VER-1 movement will be assessed. This information will provide a better understanding of the movement of VER-1. This can provide an avenue for future research into the specific motor protein controls of mammalian VEGFRs in neurons as a possible drug target to modulate glutamate signaling.

Video available upon request.


Neurons; Disease; Proteins


Simmons University (Boston, Mass.)


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mp4 video




Undergraduate Symposium
Project Discipline: Neurobiology