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 Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

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

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>