A protein identified by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine appears to play a major role in the release of neurotransmitters and therefore communication between nerve cells.
In a report that is the cover article in the current issue of the journal Cell, Dr. Hugo Bellen, BCM professor of molecular and human genetics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and his colleague Dr. P. Robin Hiesinger demonstrate that a protein called Vha100-1, a member of the pore-forming V0 complex, plays a crucial role in the transmission of a message from one nerve cell to another.
The fusion of vesicles that connect the neurotransmitter to the membrane of the cell is a critical step in this transfer. Whether neurotransmitter is released through a protein pore has been a matter of debate for many years. Previously, it was believed that SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimidesensitive factor attachment protein receptor) proteins were all that was needed for this fusion.
Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
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