Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Weizmann scientists discover a new line of communication between nervous system cells

28.06.2007
Weizmann Institute research reveals a mechanism for healthy nerve development, which may lead to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases

In a host of neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and several neuropathies, the protective covering surrounding the nerves – an insulating material called myelin – is damaged. Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now discovered an important new line of communication between nervous system cells that is crucial to the development of myelinated nerves – a discovery that may aid in restoring the normal function of the affected nerve fibers.

Nerve cells (neurons) have long, thin extensions called axons that can reach up to a meter and or more in length. Often, these extensions are covered by myelin, which is formed by a group of specialized cells called glia. Glial cells revolve around the axon, laying down the myelin sheath in segments, leaving small nodes of exposed nerve in between. More than just protection for the delicate axons, the myelin covering allows nerve signals to jump instantaneously between nodes, making the transfer of these signals quick and efficient. When myelin is missing or damaged, the nerve signals can’t skip properly down the axons, leading to abnormal function of the affected nerve and often to its degeneration.

In research published recently in Nature Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute scientists Prof. Elior Peles, graduate student Ivo Spiegel, and their colleagues in the Molecular Cell Biology Department and in the United States, have now provided a vital insight into the mechanism by which glial cells recognize and myelinate axons.

... more about:
»Axon »Myelin »Necl4 »glial cells »signals

How do the glial cells and the axon coordinate this process" The Weizmann Institute team found a pair of proteins that pass messages from axons to glial cells. These proteins, called Necl1 and Necl4, belong to a larger family of cell adhesion molecules, so called because they sit on the outer membranes of cells and help them to stick together. Peles and his team discovered that even when removed from their cells, Necl1, normally found on the axon surface, and Necl4, which is found on the glial cell membrane, adhere tightly together. When these molecules are in their natural places, they not only create physical contact between axon and glial cell, but also serve to transfer signals to the cell interior, initiating changes needed to undertake myelination.

The scientists found that production of Necl4 in the glial cells rises when they come into close contact with an unmyelinated axon, and as the process of myelination begins. They observed that if Necl4 is absent in the glial cells, or if they blocked the attachment of Necl4 to Necl1, the axons that were contacted by glial cells did not myelinate. In the same time period, myelin wrapping was already well underway around most of the axons in the control group.

“What we’ve discovered is a completely new means of communication between these nervous system cells,” says Peles. “The drugs now used to treat MS and other degenerative diseases in which myelin is affected can only slow the disease, but not stop or cure it. Today, we can’t reverse the nerve damage caused by these disorders. But if we can understand the mechanisms that control the process of wrapping the axons by their protective sheath, we might be able to recreate that process in patients.”

Jennifer Manning | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acwis.org

Further reports about: Axon Myelin Necl4 glial cells signals

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>