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 Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

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...

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

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>