Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vital new clue into how the brain is wired

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
Queensland Brain Institute
Summary:
Scientists have uncovered a vital clue into how the brain is wired, which could eventually steer research into nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease and cognitive disorders including autism.

Scientists at the Queensland Brain Institute have uncovered a vital clue into how the brain is wired, which could eventually steer research into nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease and cognitive disorders including autism.

Related Articles


It's long been known that growing nerve fibres, also known as axons, must make connections in the brain for it to function properly.

"During the brain's development, billions of nerve cells send out nerve fibres which have to find the appropriate targets to form the right connections," lead researcher Professor Geoffrey Goodhill explained.

"There's increasing evidence that defects in the genes coding for molecules that control neural wiring are correlated to a number of cognitive disorders, such as autism and Parkinson's disease."

Professor Goodhill said that steering decisions for nerve fibres are made by structures at the tips of axons, known as growth cones, which can detect signals such as gradients of guidance cues in their environment.

There have long been questions about how the growth cones behave if the gradients are shallow, which makes the guidance signals weak.

"Previously it wasn't clear what was happening when the gradient was very shallow because often the axons didn't seem to turn. It wasn't clear what they were doing.

"We have now shown that they are in fact detecting the gradient, it's just they are not responding to that by turning -- they are responding by changing their speed of growth," Professor Goodhill said.

He described the discovery of this alternative form of growth cone steering as at the basic science level, but said it might eventually lead to a better understanding of nervous system development, and cognitive disorders such as autism.

"Wiring defects seem to underlie a lot of cognitive disorders and therefore we need to understand what the basic rules are. We need to know how these nerve fibres find their way to the right locations, and this new discovery is helping us do to that," he said.

Professor Goodhill's research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Duncan Mortimer, Zac Pujic, Timothy Vaughan, Andrew W. Thompson, Julia Feldner, Irina Vetter, and Geoffrey J. Goodhill. Axon guidance by growth-rate modulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909254107

Cite This Page:

Queensland Brain Institute. "Vital new clue into how the brain is wired." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302093344.htm>.
Queensland Brain Institute. (2010, March 3). Vital new clue into how the brain is wired. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302093344.htm
Queensland Brain Institute. "Vital new clue into how the brain is wired." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302093344.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
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