Dr. Adi Mizrahi of the Department of Neurobiology at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University, used mouse models to study how neurons, or nerve cells, develop from an undifferentiated cellular sphere into a rich and complex cell. This has great significance for the future of brain research, said Dr. Mizrahi, since “the structural and functional complexity of nerve cells remains one of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience, and we now have a model to study this complexity directly.”
The results of Dr. Mizrahi’s groundbreaking work appeared in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience.
Using special microscopic imaging techniques, combined with virus gene technology, Dr. Mizrahi was able to develop an experimental model to study development of neural dendrites in vivo. The dendrites are the string-like extensions of the neuron that spread out to reach other neurons and serve as the points of communication between the neurons.
The model employed by Dr. Mizrahi in his research was the newborn neuron population which develops into the olfactory bulb of adult mice, providing them with a sense of smell. The development and maintenance of newborn neurons in this area was assessed by time-lapse imaging over several days at different stages of development. Mizrahi revealed that dendritic formation is highly dynamic. Moreover, once incorporated into the network, adult-born neurons in the study also remained dynamic and capable of continuous change.
This method provides a mechanism for observing, for the first time in a mammal, how a neuron develops into a rich and complex cell and how, once developed, neurons are maintained in the highly active and changing environment of the brain.
As for further research that some day could lead to significant breakthroughs in treatment of neural disorders, Dr. Mizrahi noted that “there are only a few small areas in the brain which are capable of neurogenesis, and they hide secrets we want to reveal.”
Jerry Barach | 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