Ben Szaro

  • Ben Szaro


    Dr. Szaro’s laboratory focuses on the control of the composition of the neuronal cytoskeleton during developmental and regenerative axonal outgrowth. Its most recent work has focused on the role of the RNA-binding protein, hnRNP K, in the post-transcriptional control of the expression of cytoskeletal related proteins required for organizing cytoskeletal polymers into an axon. Using a combination of biochemical, genomic, and high-throughput molecular methods, his group has established that hnRNP K-targeted transcripts in neurons include the Type IV neurofilaments as well as multiple microtubule associated proteins, such as tau, and microfilament associated proteins, such as ARP2 and GAP43. Using intact Xenopus embryos and frogs, they have demonstrated that hnRNP K is essential for axonal outgrowth, both in developing and regenerating central nervous system axons. At the molecular level, they established that hnRNP K is the target of multiple kinases that selectively control the nuclear export and translation of these RNAs during axon outgrowth. Current efforts use a variety of biochemical, cellular, genomic and molecular approaches to study how extracellular signaling regulates the actions of hnRNP K at each stage of RNA trafficking in neurons during both developmental and regenerative axonal outgrowth.