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Latest Chemical synapse Stories

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...

2009-06-01 10:54:51

 A team of neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has demonstrated the mechanism by which a signaling protein found throughout the brain controls the maturation and strength of excitatory synapses, the tiny gaps across which the majority of neurons communicate.The discovery is important, in part, because deficits of the signaling protein in question, called oligophrenin-1 (OPHN1), have been previously linked with X-linked mental retardation. Indeed, problems at the...

2009-05-27 09:25:47

University of Oregon-University of California, Davis, collaboration finds mechanism locking two neurons Researchers have identified the locking mechanism that allows some neurons to form synapses to pass along essential information. Mutations of genes that produce a critical cell-adhesion molecule involved in the work were previously linked to autism. The discovery -- captured with fluorescent imaging of excitatory neurons harvested from rat pups shortly after birth and studied in culture as...

2009-05-18 15:42:01

The instruction manual for maintaining an efficient brain may soon include a section on synaptotagmin-IV (Syt-IV), a protein known to influence learning and memory, thanks to a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.The study showed that Syt-IV keeps the strength of synapses "” connections between nerve cells where communication occurs "” within a useful range of neither too strong nor too weak.Synapses' ability to adjust over time by becoming bigger and stronger or...

2009-04-10 08:44:35

The enchantingly colored seashells that lend beaches their charm could also provide information about how the brain converts memories and sensory information into action, according to research from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pittsburgh published online April 7 in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" ("PNAS"). G. Bard Ermentrout, a University Professor of Mathematics at Pitt, worked with the paper's lead author, Berkeley graduate student...

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...

2009-04-03 14:36:48

Sleep, already recognized as a promoter of long-term memories, also helps clear room in the brain for new learning, U.S. researchers said. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said neurologists believe creation of new synapses is one key way the brain encodes memories and learning. There are a number of reasons why the brain can't indefinitely add synapses, including the finite spatial constraints of the skull, senior author Paul Shaw of Washington University...

2009-04-02 14:02:26

 If you've ever been sleep-deprived, you know the feeling that your brain is full of wool.Now, a study published in the April 3 edition of the journal Science has molecular and structural evidence of that woolly feeling "” proteins that build up in the brains of sleep-deprived fruit flies and drop to lower levels in the brains of the well-rested. The proteins are located in the synapses, those specialized parts of neurons that allow brain cells to communicate with other...

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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...

2009-02-05 10:40:03

A Brown University research team has discovered something in the brain that could serve as a target for future autism and mental retardation treatments.Discovery of the novel Fragile X granule is detailed in the Feb. 4, 2009, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. This finding opens a new line of research about potential treatments for autism, a neurological disorder that strikes young children and can impair development of social interaction and communication."If you are going to treat the...


Word of the Day
mundungus
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.