Scientists Martijn van Raaij, Ine Segers-Nolten and Vinod Subramaniam of the University of Twente show these clear differences in their publication in Biophysical Journal of this week. Comparable fibrils could play a role in other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Creutzfeld Jakob.
The actual cause of Parkinson’s disease is, almost two hundred years after the First publication of the Britisch doctor after whom the disease is named, still unknown. Apart from clinical research among patients, research on a cellular and molecular level is performed. It has already been established that clustering or misfolding of proteins in brain cells plays a crucial role.
Martijn van Raaij, who is a PhD-student within the Biophysical Engineering group of prof Vinod Subramaniam, has looked at this clustering process using an Atomic Force Microscope: a microscope that scans a surface with a tiny needle and is able to visualize individual protein fibrils.
The a-synuclein protein forms fibrils with typical lengths of micrometers. This process of forming of wires is important in the search for causes of Parkinson’s disease and other diseases. Van Raaij’s new results point in that direction as well: he shows morphological differences between fibrils of the proteins almost everyone has in his or her brain cells, and mutant proteins only very rarely shown in families suffering from a hereditary form of Parkinson. These differences in shape are, for example, seen in the diameters and the distance between the peaks the microscope ‘feels’ moving over the surface.
Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy