Navigation Links
Syracuse University scientists discover new hitch to link nerve cell motors to their cargo
Date:5/25/2011

With every bodily movementfrom the blink of an eye to running a marathonnerve cells transmit signals to muscle cells. To do that, nerve cells rely on tiny molecular motors to transport chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that excite muscles cells into action. It's a complex process, which scientists are still trying to understand. A new study by Syracuse University researchers has uncovered an important piece of the puzzle.

The study, published in the April 22 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), describes the discovery of a protein that is involved in the motor-cargo mechanism that carries neurotransmitter chemicals to the nerve cell's synapse. The synapse is the junction at which electrical and chemical signals are transmitted from one nerve cell to another cell. JBC is the premier journal of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The discovery was made by a team of scientists led by George M. Langford, a cell biologist and dean of SU's College of Arts and Sciences. Team members included research associate Torsten Wollert and assistant professor Michael Cosgrove in the Department of Biology; and collaborators from Dartmouth College, the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, and the McLaughlin Research Institute. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"The transportation of neurotransmitter vesicles to the synapse is critical to nerve cell function," Langford says. "We want to better understand all of the molecular components involved in the transport process. We have discovered another 'hitch' that links the motor to its cargo."

New insights into how the chemicals are transported could result in new kinds of drug therapy for such illnesses as Parkinson's disease, depression and injuries to the neuromuscular system, Langford says.

Neurotransmitters, produced by nerve cells, are used to signal cells in every organ system in the bodyfrom muscles to metabolism. The chemicals are packaged in small sacs called synaptic vesicles. The motors transporting these vesicles are composed of a protein called myosin-Va (Myo5a). Until now, it was not clearly understood how the Myo5a motor attached to the vesicle. In a series of experiments, Langford's team demonstrated, for the first time, that Myo5a forms a complex with the protein Rab3A, which serves as the 'hitch' that snags the synaptic vesicle.

By understanding how the process works in normal cells, it's possible for scientists to find ways to turn off a malfunctioning transportation system, Langford says. For example, over-production of the neurotransmitter dopamine has been linked to depression and other mental illnesses. It may be desirable to develop drugs that prevent dopamine from being transported. Likewise preventing the transportation of muscle-contracting neurotransmitters could ease painful muscle spasms associated with Parkinson's disease and severe, nervous system injuries.

Langford's research has been dedicated to understanding how organelles move within cells. He was the first to observe the movement of synaptic vesicles on actin filaments in addition to their previously known transportation on microtubules within nerve cells. Actin filaments and microtubules are the roads on which the molecular motors transport their cargo. "Think of microtubules as the expressways in the nerve cells and the actin filaments as the local streets," Langford says.

In addition to his work on cellular transport mechanisms, Langford is researching ways to produce more effective drugs to treat Candida albicans, a fungus that causes infections in humans.


'/>"/>

Contact: Judy Holmes
jlholmes@syr.edu
315-443-8085
Syracuse University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Syracuse University researchers discover new way to attack some forms of leukemia
2. Syracuse University partners with Arden-Fox to advance DODs Net Zero Energy Initiative
3. Falling in love more scientific than you think, according to Syracuse University professor
4. Syracuse University team develops functionally graded shape memory polymers
5. Syracuse University research team shapes cell behavior research
6. Rice University establishes National Corrosion Center
7. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
8. Case Western Reserve University project ties soil conservation and river management together
9. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
10. NIH selects Case Western Reserve University to participate in National Childrens Study
11. US Senate confirms Clemson University engineering Dean Esin Gulari to National Science Board
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/6/2017)... Colo. , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic ... the "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... 2015 to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem ... on a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and ... the agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 20, 2016  As part of ... 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, recently released its latest ... . The book focuses on the topics of inheritance ... Generation Science Standards (NGSS) taught in elementary school classrooms in ... in a series by illustrator Ariana Killoran , whose ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... 2016   IdentyTechSolutions America LLC , a ... solutions and a cutting-edge manufacturer of software and ... offering seamless, integrated solutions that comprise IDT biometric ... solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers with combined physical identification ... crime and theft. "We are proud ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... Jan. 17, 2017  On January 10 at the ... J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco ... Jr. , spoke to pharmaceutical leaders and public and ... to break down and destroy biofilms.  ... prevent antibiotics and the body,s immune system from eradicating ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... Jan. 16, 2017  Eurofins Genomics today announced the ... more customers to receive their primers in a shorter ... in quality found with other providers. Express oligos are ... at no additional fee. Researchers ... studies, including DNA sequencing, genotyping, site-directed mutagenesis, and cloning. ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... Jan 13, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... their offering. ... biopolymers market to grow at a CAGR of 16.83% during the period ... growth prospects of the global biopolymers market for 2017-2021. To calculate the ... sales of biopolymer products. The report also includes a a discussion of ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... MEXICO’S ... Technologies, Inc., announces the successful outcome of the first lumbar fusion procedure ... (Vertebral Technologies, Inc.) has partnered with Mexico-based medical product company BioMedical Technologies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: