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Latest Dendrite Stories

2009-10-19 07:39:41

New data about amyloid precursor protein, or APP, a protein implicated in development of Alzheimer's disease, suggests it also may have a positive role -- directly affecting learning and memory during brain development. So is APP good or bad? Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say both, and that a balance of APP is critical. Alzheimer's disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, is characterized by neuronal cell death and a progressive loss of...

2009-10-15 07:47:53

For an animal that has a brain about the size of two grains of sand, a lot of plasticity seems to be packed into the head of the tropical paper wasp Polybia aequatorialis. Researchers from the universities of Washington and Texas have found that the brain architecture of these wasps undergoes dramatic changes as they cycle through a sequence of specialized jobs during their lives. The scientists previously had discovered that parts of the brains of this wasp species enlarged as the animal...

2009-09-16 14:01:50

Technique targeting light-gated channels to enigmatic neurons proves role in burst swimming A new way to select and switch on one cell type in an organism using light has helped answer a long-standing question about the function of one class of enigmatic nerve cells in the spinal cord. Through targeted insertion of light-sensitive switches into these cells in awake zebrafish larvae, University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Francisco scientists have found that these mysterious cells...

2009-09-15 08:46:09

Dendrites integrate thousands of inputs locally before sending signals to central axon A tiny neuron is a very complicated structure. Its complex network of dendrites, axons and synapses is constantly dealing with information, deciding whether or not to send a nerve impulse, to drive a certain action. It turns out that neurons, at one level, operate like another complicated structure -- the United States, particularly its system of electing a president, through the Electoral College. A new...

2009-09-15 08:08:33

U.S. scientists say a new study of neurons supports one of several competing models that attempt to explain how neurons integrate synaptic inputs. Northwestern University researchers in Evanston, Ill., say a neuron is a very complex structure, with dendrites integrating thousands of inputs before it sends a signal to a central axon. Synapses constantly deal with information, deciding whether to send a nerve impulse to drive a certain action. The Northwestern scientists say their study...

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2009-09-07 09:53:13

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. This structure modulates the strength of connections between two neurons, thereby contributing to our ability to learn and to adapt to new situations. For neurobiologist Thomas Oertner of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, which is part of the Novartis Research...

2009-07-13 10:30:00

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, Drs. Yuko Fukata and Jun Noritake in National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan, found that two types of palmitoylating enzymes finely-tune the location and function of a major synaptic protein, PSD-95, in different ways. They also found that this mechanism contributes to keeping synaptic...

2009-06-22 15:35:10

U.S. scientists have determined a protein called neuroligin, implicated in some forms of autism, is critical to the construction of a working synapse. University of California-Davis researchers said they not only discovered neuroligin locks neurons together like molecular Velcro, but they obtained images that are the first to show two neurons coming together, using neuroligin to construct a new synapse. Previous research has suggested that neuroligin is critical for the formation and...

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2009-06-18 07:35:00

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. Published online in the June issue of the journal Neural Development, the study is accompanied by groundbreaking images that are the first to show two neurons coming together using neuroligin to construct a new synapse. "Previous research has suggested that...

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...


Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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