Center for Neurogeneration
Peter Brophy Group
Artist's rendition of an oligodendrocyte myelinating several nerve fibres in the CNS

A node of Ranvier in a myelinated nerve showing the position of sodium channels (blue). the paranodal axo-glial junction (green) and the juxtaparanodal potassium channels (red).

Myelinated fibres from a peripheral nerve showing the cytoplasmic channels we call Cajal bands after Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who first described them (the image in the centre is by Ramon y Cajal)


Professor Peter Brophy
FRSE, FMedSci
Centre for Neuroregeneration
Chancellor's Building
University of Edinburgh
49 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh
EH16 4SB

Telephone: +44 (0) 131 242 7981
Fax: +44 (0) 131 242 7980

Email: Peter.Brophy@ed.ac.uk

Biographical Profile

Peter Brophy received his BSc from King's College, London University and PhD from Guy's Hospital Medical School (now King's College Medical School), London University. He was the Chair of Anatomy from 2009 to 2014 and was the Director of the Centre for Neuroregeneration (formerly the Centre for Neuroscience Research) from 2002 to 2014.


He has served on the research panels of a variety of bodies, including the French Agence Nationale de la Recherché and the Neurosciences Panel of the Wellcome Trust. He has Chaired the International Gordon Conference on Myelin and currently Chairs the UK MS Society’s Biomedical Sciences Grant Review Panel and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris. He is also a member of the MRC Training and Career Development Panel.

 

Research Overview

In the developing vertebrate nervous system oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells not only play a vital role in promoting neuron survival, but they also produce the myelin sheath, which is essential for the normal function of the nervous system, a fact underscored by the debilitating consequences of demyelination in multiple sclerosis in the CNS and in peripheral neuropathies of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type.

 

The discovery of the Periaxin (Prx) gene and its role in forming the Cajal bands (first described by Santiago Ramon y Cajal) in Schwann cells led to the identification of the cause of a severe demyelinating neuropathy-CMT 4F-in humans. This work also permitted the first experimental proof of the proposal by Huxley and Stämpfli (1949) that internodal distance can regulate nerve conduction velocity.

 

A second project has been focused on the assembly of the node of Ranvier in response to myelination. Three isoforms of neurofascin, one glial, and two neuronal, have been shown to play distinct but vital roles in the clustering of voltage-gated sodium channels at the node of Ranvier. Studies on the role of these proteins during both normal development and during nerve repair exploit live imaging using both conventional and super-resolution microscopy.

 

Group Members

Funding

Our work is supported by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and the MRC.

 

Selected Publications Since 2014

Key Earlier Publications


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