Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What fuels memory?

07.01.2019

Mitochondria are essential for local protein synthesis and synaptic plasticity in neurons

In order to respond both swiftly and appropriately to impulses, brain cells (“neurons”) need to have proteins directly at hand, i.e. not only in the cell body, but also in their processes: the axons, dendrites and synapses, where information transfer occurs between neurons.


Mitochondria (green) are stabilized in dendrites by cytoskeletal anchoring (pink) and serve as local energy sources for protein synthesis when spines are stimulated (*) to induce plasticity (red)

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

In order to translate proteins locally, the precursors (messengerRNAs) and machinery (ribosomes), as well as the fuel need to be close by and freely available. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research have used high-resolution imaging techniques to track mitochondria, the cell’s power plants, in dendrites.

They found that mitochondria are positioned within dendrites to serve a local neighborhood of synapses. Furthermore, they showed that these organelles are not only the main energy source for local translation, but are also essential for synaptic plasticity -a mechanism important for memory formation. These findings are published in the upcoming January 10th issue Cell.

Although the brain occupies about two percent of the human body, it consumes twenty percent of the energy produced. The primary energy fuel is glucose, which is oxidized via glycolysis in the cytoplasm and oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria to generate ATP.

In neurons, mitochondria are abundant in all parts of the cell, including in the presynaptic terminals, where the neurotransmitters are released, and in the dendrites.

“Protein synthesis in dendrites is an important source of protein for synapses yet very little is known about the link between energy supply and the dendritic synthesis of proteins.”, Max Planck Director Erin Schuman says. Together with her colleagues Vidhya Rangaraju and Marcel Lauterbach, she reports that spatially stable mitochondrial compartments fuel dendritic translation during synaptic plasticity in an activity-dependent manner.

By using super-resolution microscopy, they were not only able to visualize the mitochondria in dendrites, but also monitor their movement over time. Schuman: “Dendritic mitochondria are surprisingly stable. They are anchored via the cytoskeleton and can even remain in place for over an hour.”

In addition, the researchers used an optical technique to disable a mitochondrial compartment with light and show that locally stabilized individual mitochondrial compartments indeed provide the energy supply for local protein synthesis.

“It has been understood previously that the translational machinery required to carry out local protein synthesis is compartmentalized in dendrites, in addition, here we show that, the energy source to fuel local protein synthesis is also compartmentalized” Rangaraju adds. Blocking the local function of mitochondria even prevented the structural neuronal changes associated with synaptic plasticity.

“Local mitochondria are essential for brain plasticity, like that associated with learning and memory. These findings are not only interesting for fundamental research, but might also shed new light on mitochondrial dysfunction associated with many neurodegenerative diseases.”, Schuman says.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

T: +49 69 850033-1001 (Nicole Thomsen)
F: +49 69 850033-1099
erin.schuman@brain.mpg.de

Originalpublikation:

Rangaraju, V.,Lauterbach, M., and Schuman, E.M. (2019). Spatially restricted mitochondria fuel the extensive local protein synthesis needed to support synaptic plasticity. Cell: in press.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(18)31627-1.pdf

Dr. Arjan Vink | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants
24.01.2020 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation
24.01.2020 | RIKEN

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>