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How the neuron sprouts its branches

tic Golgi outposts are located at the strategic points to do just that. And I believe this is the first such specific organelle identified at a dendritic branch point positioned to perform this fundamental neuronal function."

Finally, the researchers disrupted the orientation, or "polarity," of the Golgi -- thus causing them to move into all the dendrites -- without disrupting their function. They found that disrupting the polarity caused all the dendrites to grow at the same rate.

Further studies, said Ehlers, will explore how Golgi outposts arise, how they arrive at dendritic branch points and what cargo they distribute. The researchers also will seek to understand how molecules are selected for import to the distant reaches of the dendrites and which will be locally synthesized in the dendrites. Such studies could give important insights into the machinery of neuronal growth and how it is controlled, he said.

"Understanding this machinery has clinical relevance because many disorders of brain development in children manifest abnormal dendritic structures," said Ehlers. "Also, it turns out that most neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, are disorders of protein processing. But we know very little about how and where integral membrane proteins are synthesized and processed by neurons."


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Source:Duke University Medical Center


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