Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Architects of the brain: How different receptors promote the formation of nerve cell processes

Date:
October 26, 2011
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
Neurobiologists have found that certain receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate determine the architecture of nerve cells in the developing brain. Individual receptor variants lead to especially long and branched processes called dendrites, which the cells communicate with. The researchers also showed that the growth-promoting property of the receptors is linked to how much calcium they allow to flow into the cells.

The researchers compared the architecture of special inhibitory nerve cells (interneurons) with low and high numbers of a specific glutamate receptor (GluA1(Q)-flip). Cells with a high number of GluA1(Q)-flip (right) had longer and more branched dendritic processes than cells in which the receptor only occurred rarely (left).
Credit: AG Entwicklungsneurobiologie

Bochum's neurobiologists have found that certain receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate determine the architecture of nerve cells in the developing brain. Individual receptor variants lead to especially long and branched processes called dendrites, which the cells communicate with. The researchers also showed that the growth-promoting property of the receptors is linked to how much calcium they allow to flow into the cells.

"These results allow insights into the mechanisms with which nerve cells connect during development," says Prof. Dr. Petra Wahle from the RUB Working Group on Developmental Neurobiology. The scientists report in Development.

It all depends on a few amino acids

"Nerve cells communicate with chemical and electrical signals," explains Wahle. "The electrical activity controls many developmental processes in the brain, and the neurotransmitter glutamate plays a decisive role in this."

In two different cell classes in the cerebral cortex of rats, the researchers studied the nine most common variants of a glutamate receptor, the so-called AMPA receptor. When glutamate docks on to this receptor, calcium ions flow into the nerve cells either directly through a pore in the AMPA receptor or through adjacent calcium channels. Depending on the variant, AMPA receptors consist of 800-900 amino acid building blocks, and already the exchange of one amino acid has important consequences for the calcium permeability. Among other things, calcium promotes the growth of new dendrites.

Different cell types, different mechanisms

One at a time, the Bochum team introduced the nine AMPA receptor variants into the nerve cells and observed the impact on the cell architecture. In several cases, this resulted in longer dendrites with more branches. This pattern was demonstrated both for several receptor variants that allow calcium ions to flow directly into the cell through a pore and for those that activate adjacent calcium channels.

"It was surprising that in the two cell classes studied, different receptor variants triggered the growth of the dendrites," says Dr. Mohammad Hamad from the Working Group on Developmental Neurobiology. "In the inhibitory interneurons, only one of the nine variants was effective. Calcium signals are like a toolbox. However, different cell classes in the cerebral cortex make use of the toolbox in different ways."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. I. K. Hamad, Z.-L. Ma-Hogemeier, C. Riedel, C. Conrads, T. Veitinger, T. Habijan, J.-N. Schulz, M. Krause, M. J. Wirth, M. Hollmann, P. Wahle. Cell class-specific regulation of neocortical dendrite and spine growth by AMPA receptor splice and editing variants. Development, 2011; 138 (19): 4301 DOI: 10.1242/dev.071076

Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Architects of the brain: How different receptors promote the formation of nerve cell processes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026102742.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2011, October 26). Architects of the brain: How different receptors promote the formation of nerve cell processes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026102742.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Architects of the brain: How different receptors promote the formation of nerve cell processes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026102742.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. 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:
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