Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein Shown To Be Major Component Of Synapse Construction

Date:
December 26, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
Nitric oxide gets neurons together. And it seems to do it backward. New research suggests that a protein called PSD-95 prompts nitric oxide release from postsynaptic dendritic spines, prompting nearby presynaptic axons to lock on, and develop new synapses.

More PSD-95 means bigger spines (top), and multiple axon connections.
Credit: Nikonenko, I., et al. 2008. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200805132

Nitric oxide gets neurons together. And it seems to do it backward. Work by Nikonenko et al. suggests that a protein called PSD-95 prompts nitric oxide release from postsynaptic dendritic spines, prompting nearby presynaptic axons to lock on, and develop new synapses.

The study will appear in the December 15, 2008 issue of The Journal of Cell Biology (JCB).

It is becoming increasingly clear that synaptogenesis is not solely axon driven. PSD-95 is a major component of postsynaptic densities—a conglomeration of scaffolding proteins, neurotransmitter receptors, and signaling proteins that are thought to shape dendritic spines—and reduced levels of PSD-95 impair synapse development. How PSD-95 works, however, was unknown.

Nikonenko et al. overexpressed PSD-95 in cultured hippocampal neurons and found that the cells' dendritic spines grew two to three times their normal size and were often contacted by multiple axons—a rare occurrence in the adult brain. By mutating different parts of PSD-95, the team discovered that the region responsible for prompting multi-axon connections was also required for binding nitrogen oxide synthase. The team cut to the chase, bathed neurons in nitric oxide, and showed this was sufficient to promote the extra axon connections. Since bathing cells in nitric oxide and overexpressing proteins do not reflect normal physiological conditions, the team also inhibited nitric oxide synthase in wild-type neurons and confirmed that synapse density was reduced.

Overexpressing PSD-95 increased the amount of nitric oxide synthase at postsynaptic densities, suggesting PSD-95 recruits the synthase to its required locale. Interestingly, PSD-95 that lacked its synthase interaction domain still induced super-sized dendritic spines, suggesting PSD-95 wears more than one hat at the synapse construction site.


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. "Protein Shown To Be Major Component Of Synapse Construction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215111133.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2008, December 26). Protein Shown To Be Major Component Of Synapse Construction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215111133.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Protein Shown To Be Major Component Of Synapse Construction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215111133.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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