Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurons Use Chemical 'Chords' To Shape Signaling

Date:
February 29, 2008
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that neurons can use two different neurotransmitters that target the same receptor on a receiving neuron to shape the transmission of a nerve impulse.

Researchers have discovered that neurons can use two different neurotransmitters that target the same receptor on a receiving neuron to shape the transmission of a nerve impulse. Although the researchers' experiments identified the "co-release" of the two neurotransmitters only in specific types of neurons in the brain's auditory center, their finding may apply more broadly in the brain, they said. Thus, the finding may represent a new way in which the brain precisely modulates the nerve impulses that travel from neuron to neuron in its circuitry.

To propagate a nerve impulse within neural circuitry, one neuron launches a burst of chemical signal called a neurotransmitter at a receiving neuron, where the neurotransmitter attaches to a specific receptor--like a key fitting a lock. That neurotransmitter-specific receptor is activated to trigger a nerve impulse in the receiving neuron.

Such nerve impulses, however, rather than being the electrical equivalent of a shotgun blast, are precisely modulated signals, like the finely shaped notes of an orchestra.

Tao Lu and colleagues Maria Rubio and Laurence Trussell reported their findings in the February 28, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron.

In studies over the past several decades, researchers had found evidence for co-release of different neurotransmitters by the same neuron. But they had assumed that in such cotransmission, each neurotransmitter targeted its own receptor on the receiving neuron.

However, Lu and colleagues performed biochemical and electrophysiological experiments on rat neurons and established that two neurotransmitters--called GABA and glycine--both target the glycine receptor in specific types of neurons. The neurons they studied reside in the part of the rat auditory system that processes sound location. Thus, shaping the timing of the nerve impulse is important for such processing.

Glycine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in such neurons, and Lu and colleagues found that GABA acts on the glycine receptor to accelerate glycine-produced inhibition.

Lu and colleagues wrote that, although their studies only establish the role of GABA/glycine cotransmission in the specialized auditory neurons, other studies had found evidence for cotransmission in other areas of the brain. Such findings hint that the two neurotransmitters may work in concert elsewhere "at a single receptor to enhance the temporal resolution of inhibition."

"Of course, a hallmark of a great scientific study is the ability to approach an established problem from a fresh perspective," wrote Joshua Singer in a preview of the article in the same issue of Neuron. "And certainly the present work by Lu, Rubio, and Trussell characterizes this." Singer, who is at Northwestern University, asked, "Who would have thought that GABA [is a natural trigger for glycine receptors]" Not me, unfortunately."

The researchers include Tao Lu, Oregon Hearing Research Center and Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Maria E. Rubio, Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; and Laurence O. Trussell, Oregon Hearing Research Center and Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Neurons Use Chemical 'Chords' To Shape Signaling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227121905.htm>.
Cell Press. (2008, February 29). Neurons Use Chemical 'Chords' To Shape Signaling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227121905.htm
Cell Press. "Neurons Use Chemical 'Chords' To Shape Signaling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227121905.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins