John E. Heuser, M.D.

Cell Biology and Physiology

Molecular Cell Biology Program
Neurosciences Program

  • 314-362-6948

  • 314-362-5104

  • 314-362-7463

  • 4900 South Building



  • cell membrane, cytoskeleton, endocytosis, electron microscopy, extracellular matrix

  • Electron microscopy of cells and molecules

Research Abstract:

Light and Electron microscopic imaging of almost everything, from whole cells down to individual macromolecules, is the overall goal of this laboratory. Special emphasis is given to developing new methods of sample preparation that achieve a more natural, life-like appearance of biological and medical samples in our microscopes. To accomplish this, we have developed what is now called the “quick-freeze, deep-etch” technique for electron microscopy, and have disseminated the equipment and procedures needed to carry out this technique throughout the world.

Currently, we are using our time-lapse confocal light microscopes and “quick-freeze” electron microscopes to capture several different cellular processes that are unusually rapid events, including: membrane budding and fusion; synaptic vesicle discharge during neural transmission; movement of cilia and flagella in vertebrate and protozoal cells; and muscle contraction. In each case, our aim is to visualize the underlying molecular mechanisms that are supporting these cellular processes. We also use “deep-etch” electron microscopy to visualize macromolecules that we have controllably adsorbed to inert substrates like glass and mica, in order to study the mechanisms of macromolecular assembly and disassembly that underlie various cellular processes, including: the formation and remodeling of the cytoskeleton; clathrin-mediated endocytosis; cell-to-cell recognition; and the formation of extracellular matrices.

Selected Publications:

Fujimoto LM, Roth R, Heuser JE, Schmid SL. Actin assembly plays a variable, but not obligatory role in receptor-mediated endocytosis in mammalian cells. Traffic 2000 1:151-171.

Heuser J. Membrane traffic in anaglyph stereo. Traffic 2000 1:35-37.

Heuser J. The production of "cell cortices" for light and electron microscopy. Traffic 2000 1:545-552.

Moritz M, Braunfeld MB, Guénebaut V, Heuser J, Agard DA. Structure of the g-tubulin ring complex: A template for microtubule nucleation. Nature Cell Biol 2000 6:365-370.

Hartmann JJ, Heuser J, Vale RD, McNally RJ. Katanin, a microtubule-severing protein, is a novel AAA ATPase that targets to the centrosome. Cell 1999 93:277-287.

Mullins RD, Heuser JE, Pollard TD. The interaction of Arp2/3 complex with actin: Nucleation high affinity pointed end capping, and formation of branching networks of filaments. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998 95:6181-6186.

Last Updated: 8/4/2011 9:51:59 AM

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