Navigation Links
Capturing the birth of a synapse
Date:5/27/2009

Researchers have identified the locking mechanism that allows some neurons to form synapses to pass along essential information. Mutations of genes that produce a critical cell-adhesion molecule involved in the work were previously linked to autism.

The discovery -- captured with fluorescent imaging of excitatory neurons harvested from rat pups shortly after birth and studied in culture as they continued to develop -- is described in a paper placed online May 18 ahead of formal publication in the open-access journal Neural Development.

"We've caught two neuronal cells in the act of forming a synapse," said principle investigator Philip Washbourne, professor of biology at the University of Oregon. He describes the cell-adhesion neuroligin proteins on the membranes of receptor neurons as "molecular Velcro."

The research team of six UO and University of California, Davis, scientists found one of many finger-like filopodia, or spines, that reach out from one neuron is nabbed by neuroligin molecules on the membrane of another neuron. In turn, neuroligins recruit at least two other key proteins (PSD-95 and NMDA receptors) to begin building a scaffold to hold the synapse components in place. The moment of locking is captured in a video (link below) that will appear with the paper's final version at the journal's Web site.

Two neuroligin family members (3 and 4) have been linked to autism in the last decade.

"Chemical synapses are the primary means for transmitting information from one neuron to the next," said Washbourne, who is a member of the UO's Institute of Neuroscience. "Synapses are initially formed during development of the nervous system, and formation of appropriate synapses is crucial for establishing neuronal circuits that underlie behavior and cognition. Minor irregularities can lead to developmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation, and they may contribute to psychological disorders."

The findings, he added, reflect a clearer understanding of how synapses form, providing a roadmap for research that someday may lead to new therapies or a cure for autism, a brain development disorder that affects a person's social and communication abilities. The disorder affects 1 in every 150 American children, according to the Autism Society of America.

The new window opened by Washbourne's team captures the essence of synapse development, which occurs over and over among the estimated 100 billion neurons that make some 100 trillion synapses in a single human being. That leaves a lot of room for errors in the DNA-driven instructions for synthesizing molecules responsible for synapse formation, Washbourne said.

"Basically," Washbourne said, "we have found mechanisms by which two very important molecules, NMDA and PSD-95, are brought to a newly forming synapse."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Recipe for capturing authentic embryonic stem cells may apply to any mammal, study suggests
2. Risk of common vaginal infection linked to preterm birth appears higher for blacks
3. Birth records hold pancreatic cancer clue
4. Researchers find evidence linking stress caused by the Sept. 11 disaster with low birth weights
5. Birth of an iceberg
6. The birth and death of dopamine neurons: A new model for neurodegeneration
7. Certain diseases, birth defects may be linked to failure of protein recycling system
8. New folic acid seal helps women choose enriched grain foods to help prevent birth defects
9. Immunosuppressant further linked to birth defects
10. Northern right whales head south to give birth, leave genetic fingerprints with NOAA researchers
11. Deadly genetic disease prevented before birth in zebrafish
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Capturing the birth of a synapse
(Date:4/14/2016)... Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment ... on the heels of the deployment of its platform ... BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and ...
(Date:3/31/2016)...  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring ... , M.D., who returned to the company in October ... team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , ... and Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... and READING, England , ... Indegene ( http://www.indegene.com ), ein führender Anbieter ... die Life-Science-Branche, Pharmaunternehmen und Gesundheitsorganisationen, und TranScrip ... von innovativen wissenschaftlichen Support-Services für den gesamten ... IntraScience heute den Ausbau ihrer bestehenden Allianz ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... New Jersey and READING, ... Indegene ( http://www.indegene.com ), a leading ... to life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations and ... of innovative scientific support throughout the product lifecycle, ... with the launch of IntraScience.      ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... After several promising ... at the City of Knowledge in Panama, a 6 year-old Duchenne’s muscular ... US earlier this year following FDA approval of a second application for a ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising hotspot for specialized team building events in ... Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm and Elsevier, have traveled from ... Each event kicks off with an olive oil and salt-tasting competition. From there, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: