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See-through 'MitoFish' opens a new window on brain diseases
Date:12/5/2012

hings we don't understand well enough to model them in another setting, so we have the organism do it for us."

The MitoFish is both readily manipulated, enabling researchers to pose specific questions, and literally transparent allowing non-invasive in vivo observation of changes relevant to disease processes. It is possible to image a whole, living neuron over time and to follow the movements of mitochondria within it. "The zebrafish is an established genetic model," Schmid explains, "which means you can bring foreign genes or certain proteins into a fish to test hypotheses about basic biology, disease mechanisms, or potential therapies. And because the early embryo is transparent, you can label specific nerve cells with a fluorescent protein and then look at them in an intact, living animal."

The researchers stress that this new window into the neurodegenerative diseases could not have been opened without combining complementary expertise: from Misgeld's lab, imaging and analysis focused on organelle dynamics; and from Schmid's lab, development of transgenic zebrafish models that are stable enough for long-term study. The first authors of the team's report in the Journal of Neuroscience are Gabriela Plucinska (TUM) and Dominik Paquet (DZNE). The collaboration leaders are linked through participation in the newly established Excellence Cluster SyNergy (Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology), as well as in the DZNE and the Excellence Cluster CIPSM.

"Just talking to each other," Misgeld recalls, "we realized that this would be a perfect match that she would have situations in which the kind of trafficking question I wanted to look at could be of high relevance, and that she had all the tools we would need to carry this forward."

The driving force, they emphasize, is to understand more about Alzheimer's and other brain diseases to help steer the search for therapies in the right direction. "We need to understand how the
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Contact: Patrick Regan
regan@zv.tum.de
49-089-289-10515
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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