William S. Trimble PhD
Neuroscience Platform

Contact Info

T: (416) 813-6889
F: (416) 813-5028


The Hospital for Sick Children, Program in Cell Biology, 555 University Avenue
Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8


Primary: Biochemistry

Research Interests

Our research focuses on how membrane traffic is controlled by SNARE proteins and by the septin proteins of the cytoskeleton. We study this in the context of neurotransmitter release and in cell division.

Degrees: Ph.D.

Affiliations: Canada Research Chair in Molecular Cell Biology

                        Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

Courses Taught:


Research Synopsis

Keywords: Synaptic Vesicle / Synaptobrevin / Neurotoxin / Docking / Fusion

Detailed Description:

Role of septins in cell division.
A major focus of our research in recent years has been to elucidate the functions of a family of cytoskeletal, filamentous GTPases called septins.  Septins are essential for the final step in the cell cycle, cytokinesis, in a wide variety of organisms from yeast to man. Current work in the laboratory is aimed at determining how they are regulated, defining their role in cytokinesis, and determining what other cellular processes they may regulate. They have diverse functions as diffusion barriers and multi-molecular scaffolds.  In addition, we have found that septins regulate exocytosis in the brain at least part of their function in cytokinesis may be to mediate the fusion of membranes necessary for the division of cells.

Molecular mechanisms of membrane fusion.
Research in my laboratory has had a longstanding interest in understanding the mechanisms that control the fusion of intracellular membranes. Such fusion events are responsible for everything from the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain and release of hormones into the bloodstream, to the maintenance of organelle structure.  Specifically, we are examining the SNARE proteins, which are thought to control the docking and fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane. These proteins, VAMP, syntaxin, and SNAP-23/25 form a stable complex which is disassembled by action of the soluble proteins SNAP and NSF. More recent work has focused on the AAA ATPase NSF and its regulation within the brain.


Hippocampal cells

Procedures: Elisa, Immunocytochemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Signal Transduction characterization, siRNA, Western Blot


Analytical balances, Benchtop centrifuge, Blotting apparatus, Confocal microscope, Culture hood, Culture incubators, Deconvolution fluorescence microscope, Fluorescence microscope, Gel apparatus, Low- high speed centrifuge, Low and ultralow Freezers, Microwave Oven, Mini Vortexer, Stirrer/ Hot Plate, Water Baths.

PRESENT TRAINEES                                                                                                     
Moshe Kim               
Jess DiCiccio 
Theo Pham
Oliva Palindar
Forooz Soroor
Maha El-Zeiry
Ankur Bodalia (co-supervisor)


Within the Department of Physiology:

Lu-Yang Wang
Norman Rosenblum
Herbert Gaisano

Outside the Department of Physiology:

Sergio              Grinstein         Biochemistry/Toronto/Canada
Ernst-Martin    Fuchtbauer      Mol. Biol. Genet./Aarhus/Denmark


Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications


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