Navigation Links
Jackson Laboratory researchers provide definitive proof for receptor's role in synapse development
Date:12/31/2012

Jackson Laboratory researchers led by Associate Professor Zhong-wei Zhang, Ph.D., have provided direct evidence that a specific neurotransmitter receptor is vital to the process of pruning synapses in the brains of newborn mammals.

Faulty pruning at this early developmental stage is implicated in autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. The definitive evidence for N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) in pruning has eluded researchers until now, but in research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Zhang's lab had serendipitous help in the form of a mouse model containing brain cells lacking NMDAR side-by-side with cells containing the receptor.

Soon after birth, mammals' brains undergo significant development and change. Initially, large numbers of synapses form between neurons. Then, in response to stimuli, the synaptic connections are refinedsome synapses are strengthened and others eliminated, or pruned.

In most synapses, glutamate serves as the neurotransmitter, and NMDAR, a major type of post-synaptic glutamate receptor, was previously known to play an important role in neural circuit development. Previous research has implicated the importance of NMDARs in pruning, but it remained unclear whether they played a direct or indirect role.

Zhang and colleagues focused on the thalamus, a brain region where synapse pruning and strengthening can be monitored and quantified with relative ease. They got unexpected help when they realized the mouse model they were using had thalamus cells lacking NMDARs right next to cells with normal NMDAR levels.

The researchers showed that the refinement process was disrupted in the absence of NMDARs. At the same time, neighboring neurons with the receptors proceeded through normal synaptic strengthening and pruning, clearly establishing the necessity of NMDARs in postsynaptic neurons for synaptic refinement.

"Whenever I give a talk or meet colleagues," Zhang says, "the first question that comes up is whether the NMDA receptor is important. It's good that this is now settled definitively."

There has been extensive research into synaptic strengthening, and most of these studies indicate that the presence of NMDARs may support the recruitment of larger numbers of another kind of glutamate receptor to strengthen the synaptic connections. How NMDARs regulate the pruning process remains largely unknown, however.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joyce Peterson
joyce.peterson@jax.org
207-288-6058
Jackson Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model
2. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2012
3. Its a trap! New laboratory technique captures microRNA targets
4. Global Laboratory Automation Industry
5. Story tips From the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2012
6. Labor der Zukunft -- Tomorrows laboratory technology
7. Researchers discover genetic basis for eczema, new avenue to therapies
8. Thomas Jefferson University researchers discover new pathways that drive metastatic prostate cancer
9. Carin Görings remains identified by researchers at Uppsala University
10. CNIO researchers develop new databases for understanding the human genome
11. 3 Johns Hopkins researchers named AAAS Fellows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... DALLAS , May 12, 2016 ... has just published the overview results from the Q1 ... of the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a ... wearables data with a health insurance company. ... choose to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration ... security to access and transact across channels. Using ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... in Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the ... has already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s ... for BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of ... In addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target ... over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This ... introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , ... Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On ... session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average ... 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez ... Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these ...
Breaking Biology Technology: