Navigation Links
Skywalker ensures optimal communication between neurons
Date:4/1/2011

"I hope that unraveling the way Skywalker works will not only teach us more about the way neurons communicate with each other but will also lead to new diagnostics and therapies for neurological diseases such as Parkinson's," says Verstreken.

Communication between brain cells

Brain disorders take a major toll on society. More than 8% of the population in the West depends on analgesics. Twenty per cent suffers from a mental disturbance and the number of people suffering from the effects of neurological diseases is estimated at 1 billion. Many of these problems are caused by the disruption of communication between brain cells. Hence, finding a solution depends on understanding this communication in the smallest details.

Communication between brain cells occurs at the synapses, where an electrical signal is passed via a vesicle (a small membrane-enclosed sac with signaling substances). The vesicle releases the signaling substances, thus activating another brain cell.

An eye for the proper balance

The vesicles are reused several times. This results in the gradual degradation of the proteins they need for carrying out their function properly, which in turn affects the release of signaling substances. How the vesicles are kept operational during this recycling process was a mystery until now. Most types of cells have incorporated an extra step into this recycling process via special cell compartments called endosomes. In the endosomes, vesicle proteins are sorted to ensure optimal functioning of the recycled vesicles.

However, it was not clear whether this extra step was relevant for vesicle recycling in brain cells. Various studies seemed to demonstrate that it was in fact missing in brain cells.

Skywalker regulates communication between brain cells

Patrik Verstreken and his colleagues have now discovered an enzyme, christened Skywalker, which regulates this extra step. The VIB researchers tested fruit flies unable to produce Skywalker. In these so-called sky flies, they noticed that broken-down proteins from the vesicles were more easily replaced, and that many more signaling substances were released than in the synapses of normal fruit flies. In other words, a lack of Skywalker increases the signal between two brain cells, resulting in overstressed flies.

But the discovery that inhibition of Skywalker leads to a stronger signal between brain cells offers possibilities for the fight against neurological diseases such as Parkinson's. In the early stages of these diseases, the signals between brain cells are too weak. Verstreken wants to study this further, but realizes that it will be an enormous challenge to find ways to maintain the subtle balance that ensures optimal communication.


'/>"/>
Contact: Joris Gansemans
joris.gansemans@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Like products, plants wait for optimal configuration before market success
2. April grafting optimal for Fraser fir
3. Study uncovers optimal ecology of bioinsecticide
4. Latest analysis confirms suboptimal vitamin D levels in millions of US children
5. NIMBioS hosts tutorial on optimal control and optimization for biologists
6. Optimal dose of vitamin E maximizes benefits, minimizes risk
7. Science reporter wins ASM Public Communications Award
8. Communication engages complex brain circuitry and processes
9. Brain cell communication: Why its so fast
10. Metcalf Institute wins NSF grant to help journalism and communication of oil spill research
11. Teaching communication and information literacy skills
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... -- NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 ... ... Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under ... http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market ... CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. ... for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented ... The stem cell market of the product is segmented ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... , ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... are increasingly being developed with Wi-Fi connectivity to reduce the amount of wiring ... to room. In addition, compact mobile devices including infusion pumps, heart and hypertension ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... cells for research and the development of cardiac regeneration therapies. The development ... numbers of cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs). Due to varying differentiation efficiencies, further enrichment of ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... MENLO PARK, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... announced the publication of “Label-free isolation of prostate circulating tumor cells using Vortex ... publication is the result of a collaboration with Dr. Dino Di Carlo and Dr. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics , the leading provider ... Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston May 23-25 with a featured ... The Anzo Smart Data Lake is also a finalist for the Best of Show ...
Breaking Biology Technology: