Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Communicating Nerve Cells - New Insights

03.02.2010
The human brain consists of more than 100 billion nerve cells, and each of them is able to communicate with thousands of its neighbors. Nerve signals let us move, act and think.

Scientists of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich have now succeeded in obtaining detailed 3D images of synapses, the connections where communication between nerve cells takes place.

"With the help of cryoelectron tomography, we could detect and analyze structures in synapses that no one else could see before," says Rubén Fernández-Busnadiego, scientist at the MPI of Biochemistry. The work has now been published as the cover story in the Journal of Cell Biology.

When nerve cells, also known as neurons, communicate with each other, the emitter cell releases transmitter molecules into the recipient cell. The result is an electric impulse within the recipient neuron and, thus, the transmission of information from one cell to the other. During their work, Max Planck scientists of the Research Department of Molecular Structural Biology, headed by Wolfgang Baumeister, focused on the tiny vesicles which transport and release the neurotransmitter molecules.

According to the scientists, there are delicate filaments which connect these vesicles with each other. They also connect them with the active zone of the synapse, the part of the cellular membrane from where neurotransmitter molecules are released. "These filamentous structures act as barriers that block the free movement of the vesicles, keeping them in their place until the electric impulse arrives, as well as determining the likelihood with which they fuse with the membrane," explains the Spanish physicist Rubén Fernández-Busnadiego.

Original Publication:
R. Fernández-Busnadiego, B. Zuber, U. E. Maurer, M. Cyrklaff, W. Baumeister, and V. Lucic: Quantitative analysis of the native presynaptic cytomatrix by cryoelectron tomography. Journal of Cell Biology, January 11, 2010.
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Baumeister
Molecular Structural Biology
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
baumeist@biochem.mpg.de
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
An Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Phone ++49/89-8578-2824
E-mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de

Anja Konschak | idw
Further information:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/en/news/index.html
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/en/rd/baumeister/index.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>