Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Researchers show how cells open 'doors' to release neurotransmitters

A schematic model of a fusion pore opening.
A schematic model of a fusion pore opening.

Abstract:
Like opening a door to exit a room, cells in the body open up their outer membranes to release such chemicals as neurotransmitters and other hormones.

Cornell researchers have shed new light on this lightning-quick, impossibly small-scale process, called exocytosis, by casting sharp focus on what happens right at the moment the "doors" on the cell wall open.

By Anne Ju

Researchers show how cells open 'doors' to release neurotransmitters

Ithaca, NY | Posted on October 13th, 2010

Publishing online Oct. 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers led by Cornell's Manfred Lindau used a combination of molecular biology, electrophysiology, microfabricated electrochemical sensors and advanced microscopy to elucidate exocytosis of noradrenaline. This is a neurotransmitter released from the adrenal gland by a type of neuroendocrine cell called a chromaffin cell.

Lindau, professor of applied and engineering physics, studies the properties of exocytosis by looking at how packets of chemicals called vesicles adhere to the cell wall and open the door between the vesicle interior and cell's exterior. This "door" is called the fusion pore.

"Biochemists have been working on experiments to identify what proteins and molecules are the main players in this mechanism of release," Lindau said.

It turns out that neurotransmitter release is largely regulated by a set of proteins called SNARE proteins, and one called synaptobrevin is located on the cell's vesicle membrane. The synaptobrevins bind with other proteins called syntaxin and SNAP-25, which are located in the plasma membrane that encloses the cell. When the cell is excited and the neurotransmitter release is triggered, these proteins together are believed to open the fusion pore.

Lindau's team of researchers used genetically altered mouse embryos that lacked synaptobrevin and introduced viruses with modified versions of the protein into their experiments. They then imaged and studied the release function of the cells for the different versions of the synaptobrevins.

They discovered that one end of the synaptobrevin -- the part that anchors it in the vesicle membrane -- is pulled deeper into the vesicle membrane when the cell is stimulated. This movement is what temporarily changes the structure of the membrane and allows the opening of the fusion pore and neurotransmitter release. It had previously been thought that the fusion pore originates by an indirect effect of the SNARE protein in the membrane lipids. Lindau's experiments have shown that the vesicle membrane component of synaptobrevin is the active part of the molecular nanomachine that forms the fusion pore.

To continue visualizing the molecular details of this complex process, Lindau is working on sabbatical at the University of Oxford with professor Mark Sansom on molecular dynamics and computer simulations of the SNARE proteins and neurotransmitter exocytosis.

The research published in PNAS was funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health and the Cornell Nanobiotechnology Center, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. The paper's authors include former Cornell graduate students Annita Ngatchou and Kassandra Kisler, postdoctoral associates Qinghua Fang and Yong Zhao, and collaborators from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, the University of Saarland in Germany and the University of Copenhagen.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Joe Schwartz
(607) 254-6235


Cornell Chronicle:
Anne Ju
(607) 255-9735

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

'Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology' Lecture at Brookhaven Lab on Wednesday, April 30: Biomedical Engineer James Collins to Speak for BSA Distinguished Lecture Series April 16th, 2014

ECHA Planning Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials April 16th, 2014

Lumerical files a provisional patent that extends the standard eigenmode expansion propagation technique to better address waveguide component design. Lumerical’s EME propagation tool will address a wide set of waveguide applications in silicon photonics and integrated optics April 16th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology' Lecture at Brookhaven Lab on Wednesday, April 30: Biomedical Engineer James Collins to Speak for BSA Distinguished Lecture Series April 16th, 2014

ECHA Planning Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials April 16th, 2014

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Academic/Education

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Global 450 consortium announces new general manager of internal operations: TSMC’s Cheng-Chung Chien Receives Unanimous Support, Brings History of Innovation and Efficiency to Global Consortium of Companies Driving Industry Transition to 450mm Wafer Technology March 26th, 2014

NanoTecNexus to Host "Chemistry of Wine" Fundraiser in Support of STEM Education - Collaborations Key to Success - March 20th, 2014

Molecular Machines

Structural Insights into the Inner Workings of a Viral Nanomachine April 3rd, 2014

Big data tackles tiny molecular machines:Rice University technique able to analyze conformations of complex molecular machines March 14th, 2014

Advantages emerge in using nanostructured material in the forging process of mechanical components February 28th, 2014

Nanomotors are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells February 10th, 2014

Nanomedicine

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Nanobiotix Appoints Thierry Otin as Head of Manufacturing and Supply April 15th, 2014

PAM-XIAMEN Offers UV LED wafer April 15th, 2014

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor April 15th, 2014

Announcements

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

In latest generation of tiny biosensors, size isn't everything: UCLA researchers overturn conventional wisdom on nanowire-based diagnostic devices April 11th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE