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Senior Investigator

Thomas S. Reese, M.D.

Structural Cell Biology Section

Laboratory of Neurobiology, NINDS
Building 49 Room 3E13
49 Convent Drive MSC 4477
Bethesda MD 20892-4477
Office: (301) 496-1354
Lab: (301) 496-1296
Fax: (301) 480-1485

Dr Reese received a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. After a medical internship at Boston City Hospital he came to the NIH as a Research Associate. Except for a postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School in 1965, Dr. Reese has remained at the NIH where he became a Section Chief in 1970 and a Laboratory Chief in 1983. Dr Reese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1987. His research is on the basic cell biology of the neuron, particularly synapses and axonal transport.

The Section on Structural Cell Biology uses advanced light and electron microscopy in conjunction with biochemistry to address important questions in cellular neurobiology. Current projects are focused on the structure and function of the post synaptic density and the molecular machinery for transporting proteins in axons. The molecular architecture of isolated PSDs is investigated by a novel immunogold/replica technique while the structural plasticity of intact PSDs is examined by thin section electron microscopy. Previous observations on post-mortem accumulation of CaM Kinase II on isolated PSDs led us to explore its accumulation in intact neurons. Sustained activation of glutamate receptors causes a reversible overall thickening and accumulation of CaMKII on PSDs. Exposure of neurons to energy-depleting conditions and excitotoxic stress promote similar changes, but now CaMKII also appears in discrete clusters throughout the cell. These clusters have been isolated and shown to be essentially composed of CaMKII. We are, thus, uncovering a mechanism that could protect the neuron during excessive activity by decommissioning CaMKII while maintaining calmodulin trapping. The conditions for and function of accumulation of CaMKII at PSDs are under investigation.

The project on axonal transport is concerned with determining how essential proteins are transported in axons. Transport of fluorescent probes injected into living squid axons is measured by confocal microscopy. We have recently been able to demonstrate the slow transport of polymerized tubulin and neurofilament proteins in living squid giant axons as well as the existence of a transport system able to move tubulin in its unpolymerized, soluble form. We are now testing the potential roles of kinesin, myosin and dynein motors in the transport of the various soluble and polymerized axonal proteins that are necessary to the development and maintenance of axons.

Staff Image
  • Milton Brightman, Ph.D.
    Scientist Emeritus
    (301) 496-5091

  • Xiaobing Chen, Ph.D.
    Research Fellow
    (301) 402-8007

  • John Chludzinski, B.S.
    Research Assistant
    (301) 435-2805

  • Andy Cole
    Pre-doctoral IRTA
    (301) 496-1296

  • Ayse Dosemeci, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist
    (301) 435-2795

  • Andrea Fera, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow
    (301) 594-2475

  • Paul Gallant, Ph.D.
    Senior Research Assistant
    (301) 435-2707

  • Janice Kelly
    (301) 496-9951

  • Alex Linsalata
    Postbaccalaureate IRTA
    (301) 496-1296

  • Christine Winters, B.S.
    (301) 435-2809

  • Yijung Yang
    Postbaccalaureate IRTA
    (301) 496-1296

  • 1) Degiorgis, J., Reese, T., Bearer, E., (2002)
  • Associaton of nonmuscle myosin II with axoplasmic organelles
  • Mo;l Biol Cell, 13, 1046-1057
  • 2) Tao-Cheng JH Vinade L Smith C Winters CA Ward R Brightman MW Reese TS Dosemeci A (2001)
  • Sustained elevation of calcium induces Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II clusters in hippocampal neurons.
  • Neuroscience , 106 , 69-78
  • 3) Dosemeci A Tao-Cheng JH Vinade L Winters CA Pozzo-Miller L Reese TS (2001)
  • Glutamate-induced transient modification of the postsynaptic density.
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A , 98 , 10428-32
  • 4) Ayse Dosemeci, T S Reese, J D Petersen and Jung-Hwa Tao-Cheng (2000)
  • A novel particulate form of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in neurons.
  • J. Neuroscience, 20(9), 3076-84
  • 5) Ayse Dosemeci, T. S. Reese, J. D. Petersen, Calvin Choi and Sven Beushausen (1999)
  • Localization of the linker region of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II
  • Biophys Res Commun , 263, 657
  • 6) Galbraith, J. A., Reese, T.S., Schlief, M.L. & Gallant, P.E. (1999)
  • Slow transport of unpolymerized tubulin and polymerized neurofilament in the squid giant axon
  • Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. , 96, 11589
  • 7) E.L. Bearer and T.S. Reese. (1999)
  • Association of Actin Filaments with Axonal Microtubule Tracts
  • J Neurocytology , 28, 85
  • 8) Khan, S., Zhao, R., and T.S. Reese (1998)
  • Architectural features of the Salmonella typhimurium flagellar motor switch revealed by disrupted C-rings
  • J. Struct. Biol, 122, 311-319
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