Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain’s master switch is verified by Iowa State University researcher

10.05.2010
The protein that has long been suspected by scientists of being the master switch allowing brains to function has now been verified by an Iowa State University researcher.

Yeon-Kyun Shin, professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology at ISU, has shown that the protein called synaptotagmin1 (Syt1) is the sole trigger for the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Prior to this research, Syt1 was thought to be a part of the protein structure (not the sole protein) that triggered the release of neurotransmitters at 10 parts per million of calcium.

Shin's research is published in the current issue of the journal Science.

"Syt1 was a suspect previously, but people were not able to pinpoint that it's the real one, even though there were lots and lots of different trials," said Shin.

"In this case, we are trying to show in the laboratory that it's the real one. So we excluded everything else, and included SNARE proteins -- that's the machinery of the release, and the Syt1 is a calcium-sensing timer."

Syt1 senses, at 10 ppm of calcium, and tells the SNARE complex to open the pore to allow the movement of the neurotransmitters.

Brain activity occurs when neurotransmitters move into a fusion pore.

"We are showing that this Syt1 senses the calcium at 10 ppm, and sends the signal to the SNARE complex to open the fusion pore. That is the process that we are showing right now," Shin said.

Shin and his researchers were able to pinpoint the protein using a new technique called single vesicle fusion method. Using this method, they were able to create and monitor a single fusion event.

Previous research didn't allow scientists to look at single events, and instead required detecting many events and then taking an average of those events, Shin says.

Shin, who has been looking at this brain activity for 15 years, is happy about the discovery.

"We are quite excited that for the first time we are showing that Syt1 is really what triggers the signal in the brain," he said. "This is a really important thing in terms of neurosciences. This is the heart of the molecular part of the brain function."

Shin believes his discovery may be useful in understanding brain malfunctions such as autism, epilepsy and others.

While researching brain function, Shin has previously shown that taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol may actually inhibit some brain function.

Yeon-Kyun Shin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>