Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Motor protein plays key role in connecting neurons

24.01.2007
A motor protein called myosin X runs the main road of a developing neuron, delivering to its tip a receptor that enables it to communicate with other neurons, scientists say.

In another piece of the puzzle of how neurons form connections, researchers have found myosin X travels a portion of a neuron's backbone called the actin filament, a sort of two-way highway in the cell's highest traffic area, says Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, developmental neurobiologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

Part of its cargo is DCC receptor which needs to move from the central nucleus where it's synthesized to the cell's periphery, Dr. Xiong and her colleagues report in the February issue of Nature Cell Biology and available online Jan. 21.

At the periphery, DCC interacts with netrin-1, a guidance cue for helping the arm-like extension of the cell, called the axon, grow in the right direction. Cells eventually communicate through synapses at the end of these cellular projections.

... more about:
»Axon »DCC »Myosin »Neuron »Xiong
"During early development, axons need to grow, they need to find a target, they need to decide how long to grow, which direction to grow. Eventually they will form a synapse," says Dr. Xiong, who is dissecting how neurons first connect with the goal of helping restore communication lost in spinal cord injuries and other disorders.

"Growth is precisely controlled during development," she says and errant growth can impair brain wiring or connectivity. "Myosin X gets the DCC receptor where it needs to be so it can interact with netrin-1."

Her previous studies, published in 2004 in Nature Neuroscience, showed that DCC binding to netrin-1, activates an enzyme, focal adhesion kinase, enabling developing cells to reorganize and intuitively know how to move. The process enables brain cells to reach out to each other and across the midline of the developing brain and spinal cord. When the kinase is deleted, the axon doesn't make the proper connections.

When researchers cut off myosin X's motor – which they believe happens in spinal cord injuries – axon outgrowth also was hindered.

"Myosin X plays a critical role in neurons during development," says Dr. Xiong. Different versions of the myosin family proteins are critical to essentially every cell including muscle cells and those that turnover and divide rapidly, such as skin and intestinal cells, and eggs or oocytes.

The rapidly moving protein is easily degraded and needs tight regulation. "If you don't want to have dramatic changes in your neuron structure, you don't want this molecule," she says.

In fact, she suspects the function of myosin X changes as the neuron develops. She has documented that in late stages of development, when the axon needs to stop growing, a shorter molecule, minus the motor, is expressed. "Probably after the neuron is developed, the major work of myosin is done. There are many cleavage sites in the middle and this typically large molecule can be cut down to a small molecule that actually inhibits axon growth function," Dr. Xiong says.

She suspects that negative function surfaces when the spinal cord is cut and plans to examine whether the protein is degraded in spinal cord injuries. "We already have evidence that if this protein degrades, most frequently without its motor domain, it becomes negative, inhibits DCC getting to the proper place and so axonal growth," Dr. Xiong says.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

Further reports about: Axon DCC Myosin Neuron Xiong

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>