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Stephen Arnoff

Mark Black, PhD


Professor, Anatomy and Cell Biology

Telephone:  215-707-3165

Fax:  215-707-2966

Email: mark.black@temple.edu


Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology


Educational Background:


University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
B.S., Psychology

Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Ph.D., Anatomy, (Advisor: Dr. Raymond J. Lasek)

Department of Neuroscience, Children’s Hospital Medical Center & Department of Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


Department of Pharmacology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Postdoctoral Fellowship,
Cell biological mechanisms of axonal outgrowth
(Sponsor: Dr. Lloyd A. Greene)

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Research Interests:


Neurons are the principal cells of the nervous system. Their main function is to receive and transmit information in the form of electrical signals. The structural basis for this information flow is the elongate neurite, of which there are two types, axons and dendrites. To develop a nervous system, neurons must extend their axons and dendrites over considerable disstances to establish contact with appropriate targets cells. My laboratory studies axonal and dendritic growth, focusing specifically on the elaboration of the neuronal cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton consists of protein polymers that comprise an architectural framework that defines the external shape of the neuron and also organizes intracellular motility necessary to grow and maintain the axon and dendrites. The cytoskeleton consists of three principal polymer systems, microtubules, neurofilaments and actin filaments. We are dissecting the dynamic processes responsible for generating and maintaining these cytoskeletal systems in axons and dendrites, and defining how these processes contribute to neuronal morphogenesis.

Our current efforts address two broad problems. One concerns the transport of cytoskeletal components from their site of synthesis in the cell body into the axon to the axon tip. Cytoskeletal proteins are synthesized in the neuron soma and then delivered to the axon by active transport mechanisms referred to as slow axonal transport. The mechanisms of cytoskeletal transport in axons are unknown. Our working hypothesis is that the cytoskeletal polymers themselves are actively translocated by the axonal transport mechanisms , and that the polymer transport mechanisms contribute directly to the elaboration of the axonal cytoskeleton. The figures to the right show selected data supporting this hypothesis. The upper figure shows data demonstrating the movement of microtubules from the cell body into the axon of newly formed axons (Slaughter et al., 1997). More direct support for the polymer transport hypothesis is provided in the remaining figure and movie, which demonstrates that neurofilaments, one class of cytoskeletal polymers in neurons, are transported in axons (Roy et al., 2000). We are now attempting to define the motor protein(s) that power neurofilament transport in axons and also are expanding our studies to microtubules and actin filaments, the other principal cytoskeletal polymers in the axon.


A second problem we are investigating concerns the in vivo function of proteins known as microtubule-associated proteins. These are accessory proteins of microtubules that are hypothesized to modulate MT assembly, stability, and organization. We are attempting to test this hypothesis by directly exploring the functions of these proteins in living neurons. Our basic strategy is to either inactivate or over-express one or more of the microtubule-associated proteins and then evalulate the effects of these manipulations on axonal microtubules, axon growth, and neuronal morphogenesis (see for Tint et al 1998).


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Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

23001563. Jean DC, Baas PW, Black MM, A novel role for doublecortin and doublecortin-like kinase in regulating growth cone microtubules. Hum Mol Genet 21:26(5511-27)2012 Dec 15

21805680. Jean DC, Black MM, Baas PW, The cytoskeleton of the neuron--an essay in celebration of Paul Letourneau's career. Dev Neurobiol 71:9(790-4)2011 Sep

19726658. Tint I, Jean D, Baas PW, Black MM, Doublecortin associates with microtubules preferentially in regions of the axon displaying actin-rich protrusive structures. J Neurosci 29:35(10995-1010)2009 Sep 2

19106417. Chilton M, Black MM, Berkowitz C, Casey PH, Cook J, Cutts D, Jacobs RR, Heeren T, de Cuba SE, Coleman S, Meyers A, Frank DA, Food insecurity and risk of poor health among US-born children of immigrants. Am J Public Health 99:3(556-62)2009 Mar

16911591. Myers KA, Tint I, Nadar CV, He Y, Black MM, Baas PW, Antagonistic forces generated by cytoplasmic dynein and myosin-II during growth cone turning and axonal retraction. Traffic 7:10(1333-51)2006 Oct

16643276. Ahmad FJ, He Y, Myers KA, Hasaka TP, Francis F, Black MM, Baas PW, Effects of dynactin disruption and dynein depletion on axonal microtubules. Traffic 7:5(524-37)2006 May

15728192. He Y, Francis F, Myers KA, Yu W, Black MM, Baas PW, Role of cytoplasmic dynein in the axonal transport of microtubules and neurofilaments. J Cell Biol 168:5(697-703)2005 Feb 28

15635594. Francis F, Roy S, Brady ST, Black MM, Transport of neurofilaments in growing axons requires microtubules but not actin filaments. J Neurosci Res 79:4(442-50)2005 Feb 15

14724383. Slaughter T, Black MM, STOP (stable-tubule-only-polypeptide) is preferentially associated with the stable domain of axonal microtubules. J Neurocytol 32:4(399-413)2003 May

10995829. Roy S, Coffee P, Smith G, Liem RK, Brady ST, Black MM, Neurofilaments are transported rapidly but intermittently in axons: implications for slow axonal transport. J Neurosci 20:18(6849-61)2000 Sep 15

9786973. Tint I, Slaughter T, Fischer I, Black MM, Acute inactivation of tau has no effect on dynamics of microtubules in growing axons of cultured sympathetic neurons. J Neurosci 18:21(8660-73)1998 Nov 1

9221779. Slaughter T, Wang J, Black MM, Microtubule transport from the cell body into the axons of growing neurons. J Neurosci 17:15(5807-19)1997 Aug 1

8815889. Wang J, Yu W, Baas PW, Black MM, Microtubule assembly in growing dendrites. J Neurosci 16:19(6065-78)1996 Oct 1

8642405. Black MM, Slaughter T, Moshiach S, Obrocka M, Fischer I, Tau is enriched on dynamic microtubules in the distal region of growing axons. J Neurosci 16:11(3601-19)1996 Jun 1

8551337. Li Y, Black MM, Microtubule assembly and turnover in growing axons. J Neurosci 16:2(531-44)1996 Jan 15

8301365. Black MM, Slaughter T, Fischer I, Microtubule-associated protein 1b (MAP1b) is concentrated in the distal region of growing axons. J Neurosci 14:2(857-70)1994 Feb

7800833. Black MM, Microtubule transport and assembly cooperate to generate the microtubule array of growing axons. Prog Brain Res 102:(61-77)1994

8505364. Brown A, Li Y, Slaughter T, Black MM, Composite microtubules of the axon: quantitative analysis of tyrosinated and acetylated tubulin along individual axonal microtubules. J Cell Sci 104 ( Pt 2):(339-52)1993 Feb

1429841. Brown A, Slaughter T, Black MM, Newly assembled microtubules are concentrated in the proximal and distal regions of growing axons. J Cell Biol 119:4(867-82)1992 Nov

1709204. Black MM, Chestnut MH, Pleasure IT, Keen JH, Stable clathrin: uncoating protein (hsc70) complexes in intact neurons and their axonal transport. J Neurosci 11:5(1163-72)1991 May

2199458. Baas PW, Black MM, Individual microtubules in the axon consist of domains that differ in both composition and stability. J Cell Biol 111:2(495-509)1990 Aug

2592416. Baas PW, Black MM, Banker GA, Changes in microtubule polarity orientation during the development of hippocampal neurons in culture. J Cell Biol 109:6 Pt 1(3085-94)1989 Dec

2771049. Baas PW, Black MM, Compartmentation of alpha-tubulin in neurons: identification of a somatodendritic-specific variant of alpha-tubulin. Neuroscience 30:3(795-803)1989

2563279. Black MM, Baas PW, Humphries S, Dynamics of alpha-tubulin deacetylation in intact neurons. J Neurosci 9:1(358-68)1989 Jan

3054884. Baas PW, Deitch JS, Black MM, Banker GA, Polarity orientation of microtubules in hippocampal neurons: uniformity in the axon and nonuniformity in the dendrite. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 85:21(8335-9)1988 Nov

2845017. Black MM, Lee VM, Phosphorylation of neurofilament proteins in intact neurons: demonstration of phosphorylation in cell bodies and axons. J Neurosci 8:9(3296-305)1988 Sep

3118376. Black MM, Comparison of the effects of microtubule-associated protein 2 and tau on the packing density of in vitro assembled microtubules. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 84:21(7783-7)1987 Nov

2890724. Black MM, Taxol interferes with the interaction of microtubule-associated proteins with microtubules in cultured neurons. J Neurosci 7:11(3695-702)1987 Nov

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Temple University, School of Medicine

Medical Neuroanatomy, 1980 - present

Cell Biology, 1981 - present
Histology, 1981, 1991
Histology, guest lecturer, 2003 - present


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Postdoctoral Fellows and Other Scientists Supervised

Peter W Baas, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow 1987 - 1990
Current Position: Professor of Neuroscience
Drexel University

Anthony Brown Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow 1990-1993
Current Position: Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Ohio State University

Irina Tint, Ph.D. Assistant Scientist 1996 – present

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