Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ 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

“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
Monday, September 26, 2016
“Sixth Sense” May Be More Than Just A Feeling
The NIH Study shows that two young patients with a mutation in the PIEZ02 have problems with touch and proprioception, or body awareness.
Friday, September 23, 2016
The Genetics of Blood Pressure
Researchers have identifed areas of the genome associated with blood-pressure including 17 previously unknown loci.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
NIH Study Finds Link Between Depression, Gestational Diabetes
Researchers at NIH have discovered that the depression in early pregnancy doubles risk for gestational diabetes, and gestational diabetes increases risk for postpartum depression.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns
Researchers tested an alternative way to diagnose bacterial infections in infants—by analyzing RNA biosignatures from a small blood sample.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Finding Compounds That Inhibit Zika
Researchers identified compounds that inhibit the Zika virus and reduce its ability to kill brain cells.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Seeking Innovation to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
Federal prize competition, with $20 million in prizes, seeks to develop new laboratory diagnostic tools to detect and distinguish antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Genetic Misdiagnoses of Heart Condition
Analysis found several genetic variations previously linked with a heart condition were harmless, leading to condition misdiagnosis.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Catalogue of Human Genetic Diversity Expands
The largest data set of human exomes to date has been assembled to better study seqence variants and their consequences.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Extreme Temperatures Could Increase Preterm Birth Risk
Researchers at NIH have found more preterm births among women exposed to extremes of hot and cold.
Friday, September 02, 2016
$12.4M Awarded to Neural Regeneration Projects
The National Institutes of Health will fund six projects to identify biological factors that influence neural regeneration.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Oxygen Can Impair Cancer Immunotherapy
Researchers have identified a mechanism within the lungs where anticancer immune resposnse is inhibited.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Diagnosing Bacterial Infections in Blood Samples
Researchers have diagnosed a bacterial infection from a blood sample in infants.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Stem Cell Therapy Heals Injured Mouse Brain
A team of researchers has developed a therapeutic technique that dramatically increases the production of nerve cells in mice with stroke-induced brain damage.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
New Inflammatory Disease Discovered
NIH researchers have discovered a rare and potentially deadly disease - otulipenia - the mostly affects children.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Atmosphere Acidity Minimised to Preindustrial Levels
Sheet ice study shows acidic pollution of the atmosphere has now almost returned to preindustrial levels.
New Therapeutic Target for Crohn’s Disease
A promising new target for drugs that treat IBD has been identified along with a possible biomarker for IBD severity.
Culex Mosquitoes Do Not Transmit Zika
A study of the Culex species mosquito appears to show that the species does not transmit Zika virus.
Uncovering Water Bear Resilience
A protein identified in water bears can protect DNA of human cells from lethal doses of radiation damage.
“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
A Diversity of Genomes
New DNA from understudied groups reveals modern genetic variation, ancient population shifts.
“Sixth Sense” May Be More Than Just A Feeling
The NIH Study shows that two young patients with a mutation in the PIEZ02 have problems with touch and proprioception, or body awareness.
Gene Could Reduce Female Mosquitoes
Virginia Tech researchers have found a gene that can reduce female mosquitoes over many generations.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!