Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman is now Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Cambridge. Visit his page there for full details of his current research.

Research Summary

Michael studies basic mechanisms regulating axon survival. Age-related axon loss contributes to declining memory, senses, autonomic nervous system (bladder, gut, etc.) and motor function, leading to physical frailty. It also sets the biological context for age-related neurodegenerative disease.

Latest Publications

Programmed axon degeneration: from mouse to mechanism to medicine.
Coleman MP, Höke A

Wallerian degeneration is a widespread mechanism of programmed axon degeneration. In the three decades since the discovery of the Wallerian degeneration slow (Wld) mouse, research has generated extensive knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying Wallerian degeneration, demonstrated its involvement in non-injury disorders and found multiple ways to block it. Recent developments have included: the detection of NMNAT2 mutations that implicate Wallerian degeneration in rare human diseases; the capacity for lifelong rescue of a lethal condition related to Wallerian degeneration in mice; the discovery of 'druggable' enzymes, including SARM1 and MYCBP2 (also known as PHR1), in Wallerian pathways; and the elucidation of protein structures to drive further understanding of the underlying mechanisms and drug development. Additionally, new data have indicated the potential of these advances to alleviate a number of common disorders, including chemotherapy-induced and diabetic peripheral neuropathies, traumatic brain injury, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 1, 1, 09 Mar 2020

DOI: 10.1038/s41583-020-0269-3

PMID: 32152523

Beta secretase 1-dependent amyloid precursor protein processing promotes excessive vascular sprouting through NOTCH3 signalling.
Durrant CS, Ruscher K, Sheppard O, Coleman MP, Özen I

Amyloid beta peptides (Aβ) proteins play a key role in vascular pathology in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including impairment of the blood-brain barrier and aberrant angiogenesis. Although previous work has demonstrated a pro-angiogenic role of Aβ, the exact mechanisms by which amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing and endothelial angiogenic signalling cascades interact in AD remain a largely unsolved problem. Here, we report that increased endothelial sprouting in human-APP transgenic mouse (TgCRND8) tissue is dependent on β-secretase (BACE1) processing of APP. Higher levels of Aβ processing in TgCRND8 tissue coincides with decreased NOTCH3/JAG1 signalling, overproduction of endothelial filopodia and increased numbers of vascular pericytes. Using a novel in vitro approach to study sprouting angiogenesis in TgCRND8 organotypic brain slice cultures (OBSCs), we find that BACE1 inhibition normalises excessive endothelial filopodia formation and restores NOTCH3 signalling. These data present the first evidence for the potential of BACE1 inhibition as an effective therapeutic target for aberrant angiogenesis in AD.

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Cell death & disease, 11, 2, 06 Feb 2020

DOI: 10.1038/s41419-020-2288-4

PMID: 32029735

Novel HDAC6 Inhibitors Increase Tubulin Acetylation and Rescue Axonal Transport of Mitochondria in a Model of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2F.
Adalbert R, Kaieda A, Antoniou C, Loreto A, Yang X, Gilley J, Hoshino T, Uga K, Makhija MT, Coleman MP

Disruption of axonal transport causes a number of rare, inherited axonopathies and is heavily implicated in a wide range of more common neurodegenerative disorders, many of them age-related. Acetylation of α-tubulin is one important regulatory mechanism, influencing microtubule stability and motor protein attachment. Of several strategies so far used to enhance axonal transport, increasing microtubule acetylation through inhibition of the deacetylase enzyme histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) has been one of the most effective. Several inhibitors have been developed and tested in animal and cellular models, but better drug candidates are still needed. Here we report the development and characterization of two highly potent HDAC6 inhibitors, which show low toxicity, promising pharmacokinetic properties, and enhance microtubule acetylation in the nanomolar range. We demonstrate their capacity to rescue axonal transport of mitochondria in a primary neuronal culture model of the inherited axonopathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2F, caused by a dominantly acting mutation in heat shock protein beta 1.

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ACS chemical neuroscience, 1, 1, 08 Jan 2020

DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.9b00338

PMID: 31845794