This is made possible by an insulating sheath of myelin that forms at certain intervals around the axonal extensions of nerve cells that specialize in the transmission of stimuli. In disorders such as multiple sclerosis or leukodystrophy, the formation or function of the myelin is disturbed.
Previously, the molecular mechanisms of myelin formation were not well understood. Two projects undertaken by the Department of Molecular Cell Biology of the Faculty of Biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz have now made a significant contribution towards understanding these complex cellular processes.
In simple terms, signals transmitted during saltatory conduction jump from one non-myelinated area (the nodes of Ranvier) to another, which enormously increases the speed of transmission. Myelin is formed in the central nervous system when oligodendrocytes - a specific type of brain cell - wrap their cellular extensions around the axons of the nerve cells several times, thus forming a compact stack of cellular membranes. The team of scientists under Professor Jacqueline Trotter from the Mainz Department of Molecular Cell Biology have now been able to show which mechanisms contribute towards the formation of an intact myelin sheath and how the nerve cells control the place and time of myelin production.
Reported in a paper published in the Journal of Cell Science was the fact that an endocytic myelin protein recycling system is important for the specific formation of myelin domains. During this process, proteins are first transported to the surface of the cells. They are then reabsorbed into the cell by means of endocytosis and sorted into various membrane domains, which subsequently return to the cell surface. This 'membrane conversion' appears to be necessary for the correct formation of an intact myelin sheath.
Also reported in the prestigious Journal of Cell Biology was the discovery of a new transmission pathway, which originates with the interaction between a neuronal and oligodendroglial surface molecule, involves the activation of the signal molecule essential for myelinization and leads to the local translation of a main myelin protein into an oligodendrocyte. These results have opened up the possibility of developing a new technique of influencing nerve cells and determining where and when myelin is to be synthesized, while also demonstrating the significant role played by both types of cell in the formation of a basis for efficient stimulus transmission within the central nervous system.
Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Trotter | alfa
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
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...
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...
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...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction