Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A puzzle piece found in unraveling the wiring of the brain

21.04.2005


The complexity of the brain and, more specifically, how nerve cells form billions of contacts when there are fewer than 30,000 human genes is still a scientific mystery.



A team headed by Drs. Robin Hiesinger and Hugo J. Bellen at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have unraveled a piece of that puzzle by finding a gene that plays a key role in brain wiring. A report on their work appears today in the journal Neuron.

"We were surprised to find an exocyst mutant having such specific defects," said Bellen, professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM. "The cell biological basis of brain wiring is largely unknown. We are happy to have a new handle on an old problem."


Using sophisticated genetics applied to the brain of the fruit fly, Drs. Sunil Mehta and Hiesinger found a gene named sec15 that is required for nerve cells to make appropriate choices of targets on which to act.

The Sec15 protein is part of a protein complex (the exocyst) which is known to be required for secretion (or exocytosis) of vesicular compartments in yeast. Vesicular compartments are small organelles that transport proteins from one site to another in the cell.

Neurons in the fly brain that lack sec15 not only display aberrant wiring patterns, but also show misplacement of proteins required for correct nerve cell contact choices.

Most of these cell contact proteins were previously known to display highly dynamic expression patterns in both time and space, but how they are put at the right time and at the right place remains to be shown. This study answers part of that question.

Others who participated in this work include Dr. Mike Crair of BCM, Drs. R. Grace Zhai, Karen L. Schulze, Patrik Verstreken, Yu Cao and Yi Zhou from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at BCM and Drs. Slobodan Beronja and Ulrich Tepass from the University of Toronto.

Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.tmc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow
25.07.2017 | Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum für Experimentelle Biomedizin der Universität Würzburg

nachricht Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool
25.07.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>