Navigation Links
Autopilot guides proteins in brain
Date:4/21/2009

Proteins go everywhere in the cell and do all sorts of work, but a fundamental question has eluded biologists: How do the proteins know where to go?

"There's no little man sitting there, putting the protein in the right place," said Don Arnold, molecular and computational biologist at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

"Proteins have to have in them encoded information that tells them where to go in the cell."

In a study appearing online this week in Nature Neuroscience, Arnold and collaborators solve the mystery for key proteins in the brain.

Neurons have separate structures for receiving signals (dendrites) and for sending them (axons). The electrical properties of each depend on different proteins. But the proteins travel in bubbles, or vesicles, powered by motors known as kinesins that travel along tiny molecular paths.

Even though the paths point to both axons and dendrites, dendritic proteins end up in dendrites, and axonal proteins go to the axons. How?

Arnold's group discovered a crude but effective sorting mechanism. At first, kinesins blindly carry both types of proteins towards the axon.

However, dendritic proteins enable the vesicles transporting them to bind to a second motor, known as myosin, that literally walks them back into the dendrite.

This filter ensures that only axonal proteins make it into the axon. The others are caught by the second motor and diverted to the dendrite.

"This mechanism fishes these things out of the axon," Arnold said.

Once in the dendrite, the proteins either land in a place where they can do their electrical work or they move back towards the axon, only to be fished out again.

On its face, the process is inefficient, Arnold said, "but it is very effective."

The discovery may enable finer control over neurons for basic research or for treatment of neurological disorders. Potentially, scientists could target only dendrites or axons in a neuron so as to study its outgoing or incoming impulses.

In addition to these potential applications, the study is notable for its contribution to the understanding of the brain and of protein transport in general.

"It's a very basic question, something people have been wondering about for a long time," Arnold said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carl Marziali
marziali@usc.edu
213-740-4751
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Basic guides to PCR, labeling neurons featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
2. NIST guides genetic genealogy labs toward improved accuracy
3. Polarized light guides cholera-carrying midges that contaminate water supplies
4. Scientists discover a molecular scaffold that guides connections between brain cells
5. U. of I. librarian launches comprehensive Web database of field guides
6. Odd protein interaction guides development of olfactory system
7. New method for detection of phosphoproteins reveals regulator of melanoma invasion
8. New high-throughput screening technique makes probing puzzling proteins possible
9. Scripps research scientists watch as individual alpha-synuclein proteins change shape
10. Inactivity of proteins behind longer shelf life when freezing
11. Caltech and UCSD researchers shed light on how proteins find their shapes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer ... Are you interested in the future of ... checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to ... national level. Avoid falling behind in data ... and revenues those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... RESTON, Va. , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... contract award from the U.S. Army Research Office ... extend the range and sensitivity of the company,s ... DoD,s Past Accounting Mission and, more generally, defense-related ... its DNA phenotyping capabilities (predicting appearance and ancestry ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016 Rising sales of ... global touchfree intuitive gesture control market size ... sales of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements ... size through 2020   --> ... new technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant ... report, "Stem Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies ... ... in the stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than ... the stem cell market, by stem cell type. This ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from Indonesia , ... and Yemen honored ... Indonesia , Nepal , Peru ... are being honored for their accomplishments in nutrition, psychiatry, biotechnology, women,s ... women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology and medicine in ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company and ... the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and neck ... the second quarter and six months of fiscal 2016, ... --> --> Revenue was $1.19 million ... December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to $1.07 ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... LATHAM, NEW ... at the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from ... in the same venue. , These latest InGaAs PIN diode standard packages feature ...
Breaking Biology Technology: