Scott Clark, Ph.D.
Academic Unit: College of Science
Title: Associate Professor
Professional degrees (Degree, year, Institution):
A.B., 1984, University of California, Berkeley;
Ph.D., 1992, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mail Stop: 0314
Neurons are polarized cells possessing axonal and dendritic processes with distinct morphologies, cytoskeletal architectures and signaling properties. Polarity is established during neuronal differentiation and is essential for the assembly and function of the nervous system. The trajectories of axons and dendrites are shaped by growth cones at their tips responding to guidance cues in their environment. We are interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that polarize neurons and pattern their axons and dendrites.
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has a simple, well-described nervous system that can be visualized at a single cell resolution in living animals using fluorescent protein reporters. Neurons in C. elegans extend processes with characteristic trajectories along the dorsoventral and/or anteroposterior (AP) body axis and form reproducible synaptic connections. Using genetic and molecular approaches, we identified several molecules that play key roles in controlling AP neuronal polarity. In particular, we showed that signaling by secreted Wnt proteins regulates AP neuronal polarity and discovered a conserved transmembrane protein, PLR-1, that governs the spatial and temporal response to Wnts by reducing the cell surface levels of the Wnt receptor Frizzled. Our current studies are directed at understanding how Wnt signaling controls neuronal polarity and how PLR-1 regulates Frizzled trafficking. We are also analyzing several other molecules that influence axon formation, extension and maintenance.
Current Graduate Students
Maria da Silva
Other Lab Members
Clark, S. G. and Chiu, C. (2003). C. elegans ZAG-1, a Zn finger-homeodomain protein, regulates axonal development and neuronal differentiation. Development 130: 3781-3794.
Pan, C.-L., Howell, J. E., Clark, S. G., Hilliard, M., Cordes, S., Bargmann, C. I. and Garriga, G. (2006). Multiple Wnts and Frizzleds regulate anteriorly directed cell and growth cone migrations in Caenorhabditis elegans. Dev. Cell 10: 367-377.
Prasad, B. C. and Clark, S. G. (2006). Wnt signaling establishes anteroposterior neuronal polarity and requires retromer in C. elegans. Development 133: 1757-1766.
Chang, C., Adler, C. E., Krause, M., Clark, S. G., Gertler, F. B., Tessier-Lavigne, M. and Bargmann, C. I. (2006). MIG-10/Lamellipodin and AGE-1/PI3K promote axon guidance and outgrowth in response to Slit and Netrin. Current Biol. 16: 854-862.
Pan, C.-L., Baum, P.D., Gu, M., Jorgensen, E. M., Clark, S. G. and Garriga, G. (2008). C. elegans AP-2 and retromer control Wnt signaling by regulating MIG-14/Wntless. Dev Cell 14:132-139.
Faculty by research area
- Mastick, C
- Mastick C.
- Mastick G.
- Van der Linden
- von Bartheld
- von Bartheld