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Latest Cellular neuroscience Stories

2009-06-04 11:48:25

U.S. neuroscientists say they have determined a signaling protein linked to mental retardation also controls synapse maturation and plasticity. Researchers at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory demonstrated the mechanism by which the protein oligophrenin-1 controls the maturation and strength of excitatory synapses, the tiny gaps across which the majority of neurons communicate. The scientists said their discovery is important, in part because deficits of that signaling protein have been...

2009-06-02 14:55:00

Oligophrenin-1, faulty in mental retardation, plays a vital pre-synaptic role in normal neural signalingBrain cells, or neurons, transmit electrical signals efficiently only when they recycle tiny cellular sacs that store signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters. When a neuron is stimulated, the sacs are expelled into the synapse"”the tiny junction between nerve cells"”where they release the chemicals, which neighboring cells in turn soak up.Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor...

2009-04-21 14:15:02

Proteins go everywhere in the cell and do all sorts of work, but a fundamental question has eluded biologists: How do the proteins know where to go? "There's no little man sitting there, putting the protein in the right place," said Don Arnold, a molecular and computational biologist at USC College. "Proteins have to have in them encoded information that tells them where to go in the cell." In a study appearing online this week in Nature Neuroscience, Arnold and collaborators solve the...

2009-04-04 10:09:59

Ask a simple question, get a simple answer: When Abraham Lincoln was asked how long a man's legs should be, he absurdly replied, "Long enough to reach the ground." Now, by using a new microscopy technique to watch the growth of individual neurons in the microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, Rockefeller University researchers are turning another deceptively simple question on its head. They asked, "How long should a worm's neurons be?" And the worms fired back, "Long enough to reach...

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2009-03-10 07:30:13

Using ion-selective micro-electrodes electrical signals in plants moving from leaf to leaf could be measured. The speed of the signals spreading as voltage changes over cell membranes ranged from 5 to 10 cm per minute. The scientists discovered this new kind of electrical signal transmission system by applying a novel method: Filamentary electrodes were inserted through open stomata directly into the inner leaf tissue and then placed onto the cell walls (see picture). Stomata are...

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2009-03-09 13:56:18

Study shows coreceptors work together as 'navigators' for a growing axon To a growing axon, the protein RGMa is a "Wrong Way" sign, alerting it to head in another direction. As Hata et al. demonstrate in the March 9, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, translating that signal into cellular action requires teamwork from two receptors. During development, new synapses form when the growing axon of one neuron reaches another neuron. As an axon searches out the path to its destination, it...

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2009-02-12 10:14:24

First-of-its-kind study shows how brain connections strengthen during sleep If you ever argued with your mother when she told you to get some sleep after studying for an exam instead of pulling an all-nighter, you owe her an apology, because it turns out she's right. And now, scientists are beginning to understand why. In research published this week in Neuron, Marcos Frank, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, postdoctoral researcher...

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2008-11-18 14:58:38

Scientists say the identification of a specific molecule could be key to understanding the cause of motor neuron disease (MND) and other neurodegenerative disorders. The study of the molecule, Wnt3, raises the hope of new treatments being developed. The London-based researchers said the molecule plays a key role in establishing connections between nerve cells and the muscles they control and that these connections become progressively weaker in MND patients. Without properly-formed...

2008-10-27 15:00:27

U.S. scientists say they've found the nervous system uses a specific type of signal to produce stable retinal images despite vigorous head movements. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies said that in most nerve cells, an electrical signal reaching the end of a cell releases molecules called neurotransmitters that travel across the synapse -- the space between nerve cells -- and may or may not trigger an electrical signal in an adjacent cell. "Most known synapses act as...

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2008-08-02 11:45:00

New research has uncovered a fundamental cellular mechanism that may drive pathological drug-seeking behavior. The study, published by Cell Press in the July 31 issue of the journal Neuron, examines the brain's reward circuitry and details strikingly distinct influences of self-administered cocaine compared to natural rewards or passive cocaine injection. Dopamine (DA) neurons residing within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain are a key part of the brain's natural reward pathway...


Word of the Day
tessitura
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.