The Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors, Dr. Diana and Zelman Elton (Elbaum) Laboratory for Molecular Neuroendocrinology, Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Sagol School of Neuroscience and Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: [Email]
Focusing on microtubule heterogeneity and brain specificity allowed for initial discoveries of multiple tubulin isotypes four decades ago. Methods evolved from using radioactive labelling and single cell cultures to monoclonal antibodies recognizing discrete forms of tubulin in single neurons. With the advantage of molecular cloning and fluorescent protein tagging, essential components for microtubule dynamics/stability and function were identified, including activity-dependent neuroprotective protein, ADNP and its peptide snippet, NAP (drug candidate, davunetide/CP201). ADNP/NAP through the SxIP motif interact with microtubule end binding proteins EB1 and EB3 to increase microtubule dynamics, axonal transport and dendritic spine formation. Recent transcriptomic analysis of the young mouse brain at the single cell level enabled characterization of cell-type specific cytoskeleton related gene signatures (e.g., tubulin transcripts, microtubule-associated protein Tau, Mapt and microtubule end binding protein, EB3, Mapre3) at unprecedented detail. Here, we review these findings with a methodological perspective to highlight how cutting-edge techniques have allowed us to disentangle cytoskeleton dynamics in health and disease.