Localization of MK-STYX – Abstract

MK-STYX is a pseudophosphatase that has roles in neuronal cell development. MK-STYX is rendered catalytically inactive because of a lack of a specific amino acid sequence that is critical to having phosphatase function. While this may lead to the assumption that MK-STYX does not play a critical role in the human body, psuedophosphatases are actually a part of phosphorylation signaling cascades. I hope to look further into MK-STYX’s role in neurite development. Previous work into this showed that the presence of MK-STYX stimulates neurite formation. In addition, these growths also demonstrated axonal and dendritic properties. My project will be to look at where exactly MK-STYX is localized in the neuron, the cell body or the dendrites, and what other proteins it interacts with to cause neurite growth. The localization of a protein in a cell provides information on its function. For example, if MK-STYX is discovered to be localized in the dendrites of neurons, it suggests that MK-STYX has a role in neurons connecting to each other. This has applications into neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and dementia. When patients have Alzheimer’s, neurons are not able to reach other neurons due to the lack of connections between them, causing problems with memory and other mental functions. Other neurodegenerative disorders are also caused by similar deteriorating brain function. MK-STYX has the potential to treat these diseases by forming those needed connections.