Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Proteomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

NIH Study Uses Botox to Find New Wrinkle in Brain Communication

Published: Friday, May 03, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 03, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Results support new view of molecules important for most nerve cell signaling.

National Institutes of Health researchers used the popular anti-wrinkle agent Botox to discover a new and important role for a group of molecules that nerve cells use to quickly send messages.

This novel role for the molecules, called SNARES, may be a missing piece that scientists have been searching for to fully understand how brain cells communicate under normal and disease conditions.

“The results were very surprising,” said Ling-Gang Wu, Ph.D., a scientist at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Like many scientists we thought SNAREs were only involved in fusion.”

Every day almost 100 billion nerve cells throughout the body send thousands of messages through nearly 100 trillion communication points called synapses.

Cell-to-cell communication at synapses controls thoughts, movements, and senses and could provide therapeutic targets for a number of neurological disorders, including epilepsy.

Nerve cells use chemicals, called neurotransmitters, to rapidly send messages at synapses. Like pellets inside shotgun shells, neurotransmitters are stored inside spherical membranes, called synaptic vesicles.

Messages are sent when a carrier shell fuses with the nerve cell’s own shell, called the plasma membrane, and releases the neurotransmitter “pellets” into the synapse.

SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) are three proteins known to be critical for fusion between carrier shells and nerve cell membranes during neurotransmitter release.

“Without SNAREs there is no synaptic transmission,” said Dr. Wu.

Botulinum toxin, or Botox, disrupts SNAREs. In a study published in Cell Reports, Dr. Wu and his colleagues describe how they used Botox and similar toxins as tools to show that SNAREs may also be involved in retrieving message carrier shells from nerve cell membranes immediately after release.

To study this, the researchers used advanced electrical recording techniques to directly monitor in real time carrier shells being fused with and retrieved from nerve cell membranes while the cells sent messages at synapses.

The experiments were performed on a unique synapse involved with hearing called the calyx of Held. As expected, treating the synapses with toxins reduced fusion. However Dr. Wu and his colleagues also noticed that the toxins reduced retrieval.

For at least a decade scientists have known that carrier shells have to be retrieved before more messages can be sent. Retrieval occurs in two modes: fast and slow. A different group of molecules are known to control the slow mode.

“Until now most scientists thought fusion and retrieval were two separate processes controlled by different sets of molecules,” said Dr. Wu.

Nevertheless several studies suggested that one of the SNARE molecules could be involved with both modes.

In this study, Dr. Wu and his colleagues systematically tested this idea to fully understand retrieval. The results showed that all three SNARE proteins may be involved in both fast and slow retrieval. “Our results suggest that SNAREs link fusion and retrieval,” said Dr. Wu.

The results may have broad implications. SNAREs are commonly used by other cells throughout the body to release chemicals. For example, SNAREs help control the release of insulin from pancreas cells, making them a potential target for diabetes treatments.

Recent studies suggest that SNAREs may be involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and spastic ataxia.

“We think SNARES work like this in most nerve cell synapses. This new role could change the way scientists think about how SNAREs are involved in neuronal communication and diseases,” said Dr. Wu.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Advancing Protein Visualization
Cryo-EM methods can determine structures of small proteins bound to potential drug candidates.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Visualizing a Cancer Drug Target at Atomic Resolution
Using cryo-electron microscopy, researchers were able to view, in atomic detail, the binding of a potential small molecule drug to a key protein in cancer cells.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Natural Protein Points to New Inflammation Treatment
Findings may offer insight to effective treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Friday, February 05, 2016
Biomarkers Outperform Symptoms in Parsing Psychosis Subgroups
Multiple biological pathways lead to similar symptoms - NIH-funded study.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
NIH Supports New Studies to Find Alzheimer’s Biomarkers in Down Syndrome
Initiative will track dementia onset, progress in Down syndrome volunteers.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Dementia Linked to Deficient DNA Repair
Mutant forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) are associated with breast and ovarian cancers but according to new findings, in the brain the normal BRCA1 gene product may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Molecule Proves Key to Brain Repair After Stroke
Scientists found that a molecule known as growth and differentiation factor 10 (GDF10) plays a key role in repair mechanisms following stroke.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Nuclear Transport Problems Linked to ALS and FTD
NIH-supported studies point to potential new target for treating neurodegenerative diseases.
Monday, October 19, 2015
NIH Funding Targets Gaps in Biomedical Research
New awards support emerging issues in cutting-edge biomedical research fields.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
NIH Framework Points The Way Forward For Developing The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director has presented to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a detailed design framework for building a national research participant group, called a cohort, of 1 million or more Americans to expand our knowledge and practice of precision medicine.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Beth Israel Cardiology Team Awarded $3 Million by NIH
Work will help predict outcomes in patients with heart disease.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Novel Mechanism to Explain Autoimmune Uveitis Proposed
A new study on mice suggests that bacteria in the gut may provide a kind of training ground for immune cells to attack the eye.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Nuclear Process in the Brain That May Affect Disease Uncovered
Scientists have shown that the passage of molecules through the nucleus of a star-shaped brain cell, called an astrocyte, may play a critical role in health and disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Scientific News
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
“Amazing Protein Diversity” Discovered in Maize
The genome of the corn plant – or maize, as it’s called almost everywhere except the US – “is a lot more exciting” than scientists have previously believed. So says the lead scientist in a new effort to analyze and annotate the depth of the plant’s genetic resources.
Proteins in Blood of Heart Disease Patients May Predict Adverse Events
Nine-protein test shown superior to conventional assessments of risk.
Self-Assembling Protein Shell for Drug Delivery
Made-to-order nano-cages open possibilities of shipping cargo into living cells or fashioning small chemical reactors.
Molecular Map Provides Clues To Zinc-Related Diseases
Mapping the molecular structure where medicine goes to work is a crucial step toward drug discovery against deadly diseases.
Nanoprobe Enables Measurement of Protein Dynamics in Living Cells
Mass. General and Harvard researchers use device to measure how anesthetic affects levels of Alzheimer's-associated proteins.
Diagnosing Systemic Infections Quickly, Reliably
Team develop rapid and specific diagnostic assay that could help physicians decide within an hour whether a patient has a systemic infection and should be hospitalized for aggressive intervention therapy.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
A New Tool Brings Personalized Medicine Closer
Scientists from EPFL and ETHZ have developed a powerful tool for exploring and determining the inherent biological differences between individuals, which overcomes a major hurdle for personalized medicine.
Blood Test That Detects Early Alzheimer’s Disease
A research team, led by Dr. Robert Nagele from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Durin Technologies, Inc., has announced the development of a blood test that leverages the body’s immune response system to detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease – referred to as the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage – with unparalleled accuracy.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!