Latest Chemical synapse Stories
Fifty years after it was originally discovered, scientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have elucidated the function of a microscopic network of tubules found in neurons.
As part of the intricate ballet of synaptic transmission from one neuron to the next, tiny vesicles â€“ bubbles containing the chemical neurotransmitters that make information exchange possibleâ€”travel to the tip of neurons (synapses), where they fuse with the cell's membrane (a process called exocytosis).
Success in soccer sometimes comes with "bending it like Beckham." Success in cellular fusion â€” as occurs at the moment of conception and when nerve cells exchange neurotransmitters â€” requires that a membrane be bent before the merging process can begin, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have shown.
Recycling is a critical component in the process of transmitting information from one neuron to the next, and a large protein called Tweek plays a critical role, said an international consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in a report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.
Every time a neuron sends a signal â€“ to move a muscle or form a memory, for example â€“ tiny membrane-bound compartments, called vesicles, dump neurotransmitters into the synapse between the cells.
In the brain, many types of synaptic proteins are spatio-temporally regulated to maintain synaptic activity at a constant level. Here, the Japanese research group led by Professor Masaki Fukata
The ability to learn and to establish new memories is essential to our daily existence and identity; enabling us to navigate through the world.
A protein called neuroligin that is implicated in some forms of autism is critical to the construction of a working synapse, locking neurons together like "molecular Velcro," a study lead by a team of UC Davis researchers has found.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered how the mutated huntingtin gene acts on the nervous system to create the devastation of Huntington's disease. The report of their findings is available in Nature Neuroscience online.