In general terms my laboratory is interested in the cellular and molecular physiology of vascular and brain cells. Using cultured cells from vascular and brain tissue as models systems, we are focusing our efforts in understanding the role of subcellular transport vesicles in the transport of neuropeptide processing enzymes, and in the cellular level effects of the polyether marine toxins (brevetoxins, saxitoxins, ciguatoxins, and maitotoxins). In addition, the laboratory also studies the role of the recently characterized caveolae and their constituent caveolins in the differentiation of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells, and C6 glial cells. In the first area of interest the fundamental premise is forwarded that the peripheral and central effects of these marine neurotoxins are intimately linked to subcellular transport pathways and the signal transduction compartments that these define, i.e. the caveolar signal transduction compartment. This subcellular level approach shall provide an enhanced understanding of the mechanisms of action and the pathophysiology of the toxicity ensued by these toxins. On the second hand, the possibility is explored that the peripheral and central actions of neuropeptides (NP) are intimately linked to the expression of NP processing enzymes (NPE) in two coated vesicular transport organelles, clathrin coated vesicles (CCV) and caveolae (CAV). The main trust of this project rests on the opportunity to expand our fundamental knowledge on neuropeptide expression and function, and in providing a groundwork for understanding the subcellular basis of the regulation of NPE expression, both centrally and peripherally. Last but not least, our laboratory has recently succeeded in the initial characterization of caveolae and caveolins in C6 glial cells. These findings are particularly significant in relationship to the establishment of a model system to study the relevance of the caveolae compartment to signal transduction pathways in glial cells, and their fundamental relevance to the differentiation of these brain cells.