Prof Peter Brophy

The lab focuses on the assembly of the node of Ranvier in response to myelination and the function of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system.

Professor Peter Brophy 

Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience

Chancellor's Building

49 Little France Crescent

EH16 4SB

Contact details


Personal 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 Veterinary Anatomy & Cell Biology in the Vet School from 1995 to 2009 and Chair of Anatomy in the Medical School 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 UK Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Neurosciences Panel of the Wellcome Trust, the MRC Training and Career Development Panel,  the Neuroscience Committee of the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche and he chaired the International Gordon Conference on Myelin.

Research Theme

Injury and Repair

Genes and Development


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.

Our 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 was focused on the assembly of two structures in the axon that are required for rapid nerve conduction: the axon initial segment (AIS) and the nodes of Ranvier. We found that three isoforms of neurofascin, one glial, and two neuronal, play distinct but vital roles in the clustering of voltage-gated sodium channels at the node of Ranvier. Neuronal neurofascin also has a vital role at the AIS. We discovered that delivery of this membrane protein to the AIS occurs by a remarkably circuitous route. These studies exploited live imaging using both conventional and super-resolution microscopy.

Selected Publications 

Eshed-Eisenbach, Y., Brophy, P. J., and Peles, E. (2023) Nodes of Ranvier in health and disease, J Peripher Nerv Syst. (in press)

Malavasi, E.L.V., A. Ghosh, D.G. Booth, M. Zagnoni, D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy(2021). Dynamic early clusters of nodal proteins contribute to node of Ranvier assembly during myelination of peripheral neurons. eLife2021;10:e68089.

Lezmy, J., L. Arancibia-Carcamo, T. Quintela-Lopez, D.L. Sherman, P.J. Brophy and D. Attwell (2021). Astrocyte Ca2+-evoked ATP release regulates myelinated axon excitability and conduction speedScience 374, eabh2858. 

Ghosh, A., E.L.V. Malavasi, D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy (2020). Neurofascin and Kv7.3 are delivered to somatic and axon terminal surface membranes en route to the axon initial segment. eLife 2020;9:e60619.

Smigiel, R., D.L Sherman, M. Rydzanicz, A. Walczak, D. Mikolajkow, B. Krolak-Olejnik, J. Kosinska, P. Gasperowicz, A. Biernacka, P. Stawinski, M. Marciniak, W. Andrzejewski, M. Boczar, P. Krajewski, M.M. Sasiadek, P.J. Brophy* and R. Ploski* (2018). Homozygous mutation in the Neurofascin gene affecting the glial isoform of Neurofascin causes severe neurodevelopment disorder with hypotonia, amimia and areflexiaHum. Mol. Genet. 27, 3669-3674   *Joint senior authors

Ghosh, A., D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy (2018). The Axonal Cytoskeleton and the Assembly of Nodes of RanvierNeuroscientist 24, 104-110. 

Brivio, V., C. Faivre-Sarrailh, E.Peles; D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy (2017). Assembly of CNS Nodes of Ranvier in Myelinated Nerves is Promoted by the Axon CytoskeletonCurrent Biology 27(7):1068-1073.

Amor, V., C. Zhang, A. Vainshtein, A. Zhang, D.R. Zollinger, Y. Eshed-Eisenbach, P.J. Brophy, M.N. Rasband, and E. Peles (2017). The paranodal cytoskeleton clusters Na+ channels at nodes of RanviereLife 6

Key Earlier Publications

L.M.N. Wu, A. Williams, A. Delaney, D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy (2012). Increasing Internodal Distance in Myelinated Nerves Accelerates Nerve Conduction to a Flat MaximumCurrent Biology 22: 1957-1961.

B. Zonta, A. Desmazieres, A. Rinaldi, S. Tait, D.L. Sherman, M.F. Nolan and PJ Brophy (2011). A Critical Role for Neurofascin in Regulating Action Potential Initiation Through Maintenance of the Axon Initial SegmentNeuron69, 945-956. 

B. Zonta, S. Tait, S. Melrose, H. Anderson, S. Harroch, J. Higginson, D.L. Sherman and P.J. Brophy (2008). Glial and Neuronal Isoforms of Neurofascin have Distinct Roles in the Assembly of Nodes of Ranvier in the Central Nervous SystemJ. Cell Biol 181: 1169-1177.

D.L. Sherman, S. Tait, S. Melrose, R. Johnson, B.Zonta, F.A. Court, W.B. Macklin, S. Meek, A.J. Smith, D.F. Cottrell and PJ Brophy (2005). Organization of Axonal Domains for Saltatory Conduction Requires the NeurofascinsNeuron48: 737-742 (Cover).

F.A. Court, D.L. Sherman, T. Pratt, E.M. Garry, R.R. Ribchester, D.F. Cottrell, S.M. Fleetwood-Walker and PJ Brophy(2004). Restricted Growth of Schwann Cells Lacking Cajal Bands Slows Conduction in Myelinated NervesNature431, 191-195 (Cover).