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

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IPô, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Zenosense, Inc. - Hospital Collaboration - 400 Person Lung Cancer Detection Trial December 17th, 2014

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Nanomedicine expert joins Rice faculty: Gang Bao combines genetic, nano and imaging techniques to fight disease December 17th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

Student Nanotechnology Laboratories Network Set Up in Iran December 15th, 2014

Molecular Machines

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Dartmouth researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste December 15th, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

First Home-Made Edible Herbal Nanodrug Presented to Pharmacies across Iran December 17th, 2014

Announcements

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IPô, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars: Rice University study examines how nanoparticles behave in food chain December 16th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

UCLA engineers first to detect and measure individual DNA molecules using smartphone microscope December 15th, 2014

Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers December 8th, 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