Microglia are brain macrophages involved in shaping, protecting and killing brain neurons in development, aging and neurodegeneration. We have been investigating the mechanisms by which microglia become inflamed and damage neurons. Recently we have found that inflamed microglia can phagocytose (i.e. eat) live neurons, and thereby cause neuronal death and loss. This project will investigating the signals and receptors involved in this process, and whether phagocytosis is beneficial or detrimental in particular pathologies. The project will use cell culture, fluorescence microscopy and molecular cell biology.
- Neher JJ, Emmrich JV, Fricker M, Mander PK, Thery C, Brown GC (2013) Phagocytosis executes delayed neuronal death after focal brain ischemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110:E4098-107.
- Fricker M, Neher JJ, Zhao JW, Théry C, Tolkovsky AM, Brown GC (2012) MFG-E8 Mediates Primary Phagocytosis of Viable Neurons during Neuroinflammation. J Neurosci. 32, 2657-66. Brown GC & Neher JJ (2012)
- Eaten alive! Cell death by primary phagocytosis: ‘phagoptosis’. Trends Biochem. Sci. 37, 325-332.