Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What Makes An Axon An Axon?

Date:
November 19, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
Inside every axon is a dendrite waiting to get out. Scientists converted mature axons into dendrites by banishing a protein crucial for neuron development. The results suggest that this transformation could occur after nerve cell damage.

Inside every axon is a dendrite waiting to get out. Hedstrom et al. converted mature axons into dendrites by banishing a protein crucial for neuron development. The results suggest that this transformation could occur after nerve cell damage.

Related Articles


At the junction between the axon and the cell body is the axon initial segment (AIS), which sparks action potentials. Researchers also suspect that the AIS enables an axon to maintain its identity. Although scientists have teased out some of the molecular events that determine whether a neuron outgrowth will become an axon or a dendrite, they know little about what keeps these structures distinct.

In cultured neurons, Hedstrom et al. used RNAi to cut production of ankyrinG, a protein that helps spur formation of the AIS. Loss of ankyrinG caused the AIS to disappear. For example, sodium channels that normally crowd the AIS's plasma membrane dispersed. When ankyrinG was absent the erstwhile axons began to resemble dendrites, sprouting spines and developing excitatory synapses. Characteristic molecules from the cell body and dendrites, such as the microtubule polymerizing protein MAP2, also infiltrated the axons.

The AIS appears to serve as a filter that screens out dendritic proteins, Hedstrom et al. conclude. How the structure bars some proteins from the axon is still uncertain. Injuries and diseases can transform dendrites into axons. The findings raise the possibility that these insults could cause the reverse transformation by changing the amount of ankyrinG and altering the AIS.

Journal reference: Hedstrom, K.L., et al. 2008. J. Cell Biol. Nov. 17, 2008 doi:10.1083/jcb.200806112.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "What Makes An Axon An Axon?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110112055.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2008, November 19). What Makes An Axon An Axon?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110112055.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "What Makes An Axon An Axon?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110112055.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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