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A new nuance to neurons
Date:8/23/2011

re was actually any difference between them. In the past, many scientists hypothesized that the difference was simply a matter of location the recycling ones come into play when an electrical impulse arrives simply because they happen to be at the right spot for release.

But some scientists pondered whether the identity of the vesicles determines their behavior and not the other way around that the recycling ones are in the right spot because they are the ones destined to be released. It's sort of like asking whether a soccer player is a goalie because he happens to block shots near the goal, or because he's designated to be the goalie.

The new work essentially shows that goalies block shots because they're goalies.

Proteins Determine the Fate

In their paper, Edwards and his colleagues show that vesicles in the two different pools contain different proteins and that these differences determine how they behave. Using a technique for labeling proteins with glowing molecules derived from jellyfish, they were able to show that a protein called VAMP7 is present at high levels in the resting pool rather than the recycling pool, which contains more of other synaptic vesicle proteins.

This shows that the body makes and maintains different pools of vesicles containing different proteins for different purposes: release or some other function. According to Edwards, the observation has far-reaching implications for our understanding of how neurotransmitters are packaged, transported and released from neurons.

"What's happening is not a simple, monolithic process," he said.

The observation gives new insight into the function of the brain at the most basic, microscopic level. It also may help unravel some of the secrets of neurological diseases, aspects of which may be related to how vesicles are produced and released.

According to Edwards, resting vesicles are involved in a separate not-well-unde
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jason.bardi@ucsf.edu
415-502-4608
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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