Proteins classically associated with autophagy regulate the speed of intracellular transport / Publication in ‚Nature Communications’
Scientists from the laboratory of Dr. Natalia Kononenko at the CECAD Center of Excellence in Aging Research at the University of Cologne have found out that autophagy – the process of cellular self-recycling, or waste clearance – is dispensable for the survival of the neurons in mice.
The new findings suggest that autophagy in fact also fulfils a different important function: The proteins classically associated with waste clearance in cells regulate the speed of intracellular transport.
This transport is achieved by microscopic hollow tubes, so-called microtubules. The article ‘Autophagy lipidation machinery regulates axonal microtubule dynamics but is dispensable for survival of mammalian neurons’ appeared in the current issue of Nature Communications.
Autophagy cleans the cells by breaking down and removing the damaged proteins and organelles, cell areas with a specific function.
It is hardly surprising that this process is particularly important for long-lived cells such as neurons, since neurons are no longer capable of cell division (‘post-mitotic’) and are therefore particularly vulnerable to accumulating unfavorable proteins and damaged organelles. In their new study, the scientists show that neurons in the mouse brain do not need autophagy to survive.
Instead, these specialized cells use autophagy proteins to regulate the microtubule-dependent transport of molecules crucial for learning and memory.
The fact that autophagy is crucial for the well-being of the brain is supported by scientific discoveries made over the last decade. Many studies have identified defective autophagy as one of the pathological causes of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s (AD), Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
In this context, the novel function of autophagy the scientists discovered suggests that the therapeutic modulations of autophagy activity in patients might not only promote the waste clearance in the brain, but also alter the cognitive abilities by changing the efficiency of the intracellular transportation system.
Dr. Natalia Kononenko
CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research
+49 221 478-84302
Press and Communications Team:
+49 221 470-2356
Gabriele Meseg-Rutzen | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Rising water temperatures could endanger the mating of many fish species
03.07.2020 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Moss protein corrects genetic defects of other plants
03.07.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...
Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...
With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.
Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
03.07.2020 | Life Sciences
03.07.2020 | Studies and Analyses
03.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering