Gary Banker, Ph.D.
Professor and Senior Scientist
Cell & Developmental Biology
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Summary of Current Research
My laboratory studies neuronal structure and development from a cell biological perspective. We are particularly interested in neuronal polarity–the structural and functional differences between axons and dendrites--and the mechanisms that underlie the polarized targeting of membrane proteins. We have developed methods for imaging the transport of axonal and dendritic proteins in living neurons and are using this approach to identify the molecular motors responsible for their transport. We are equally interested in how polarity arises in development. We have shown that neurons initially extend several unspecified processes, which appear to compete with one another to become the cell's axon. When one acquires axonal characteristics, the remainder become dendrites. Current work concerns the cellular events that underlie determination of the axon, with a particular focus on analyzing membrane traffic and the role of kinesin motor proteins. From a technical standpoint, we use cultures of rat hippocampal neurons for our work and place heavy emphasis on microscopy and live cell imaging. We have also begun to use the techniques of nanofabrication as a means for controlling the spatial interactions between neurons and soluble and substrate-attached signaling molecules in their immediate environment.
Kaech S, Banker G (2006). Culturing hippocampal neurons. Nat Protoc 1, 2406-15.
Oliva AA Jr, Atkins CM, Copenagle L, Banker GA (2006). Activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase is required for axon formation. J Neurosci 26, 9462-70.
Das SS, Banker GA (2006). The role of protein interaction motifs in regulating the polarity and clustering of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR1a. J Neurosci 26, 8115-25.
Jacobson C, Schnapp B, Banker GA (2006). A change in the selective translocation of the Kinesin-1 motor domain marks the initial specification of the axon. Neuron 49, 797-804.
Silverman MA, Peck R, Glover G, He C, Carlin C, Banker G (2005). Motifs that mediate dendritic targeting in hippocampal neurons: a comparison with basolateral targeting signals. Mol Cell Neurosci 29,173-80.
Jacobson, C., Schnapp, B., and Banker, G. (2006) A change in the selective translocation of the kinesin-1 motor domain marks the initial specification of the axon. Neuron 49: 797-804
Withers, G.S., James, C.D., Kingman, C., Craighead, C.G., and Banker, G.A. (2006) Effects of substrate geometry on growth cone behavior and axon branching. J. Neurobiol. 66:1183-94.
Das, S.S., and Banker, G.A. (2006) The role of protein interaction motifs in regulating the polarity and clustering of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR1a. J. Neurosci. 26:8115-25.
Oliva, A.A. Jr., Atkins, C. M., Copenagle, L., and Banker, G.A. (2006) Activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase is required for axon formation. J. Neurosci. 26: 9462-9470.
Kaech, S. and Banker, G. (2006) Culturing hippocampal neurons. Nature Protocols 1:2406-2415.
Ph.D., University of California Irvine, 1973
Dr. Banker has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Dr. Banker is not available as a mentor for 2013-2014.