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:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ... --> - Renvoi : image disponible via ... --> --> DERMALOG, le ... de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des ... sera utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité aux ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 ... new market research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology ... (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), ... To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is ... to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced ... testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay Mesa border ... identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies in ... until May 2016. --> the United States ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 Q ... that it will be a featured presenter at the 5th ... New York City at the Grand ... Corin , Q BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin ... cover the company,s business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising ... been rated one of its top attractions. Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, ... a unique and intimate team-building experience. , Each event kicks off with an olive ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... , ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have evidence that ... the research that could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted ... , The team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a second kind ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , May 24, 2016   ... on providing physicians with artificial intelligence, real-time decision support tools ... selected to present at the 2016 Israeli Advanced Technology Industries ... part of Israel,s 15th National Life ... to 26th at the David Intercontinental Hotel in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: