Neurons can use local stores for communication needs

Neurons can use local stores for communication needs
The localization of ryanodine receptors (red) in an isolated nerve terminal from the posterior pituitary gland is depicted in this image. Credit: McNally et al., 2014

Researchers reveal that neurons can utilize a supremely localized internal store of calcium to initiate the secretion of neuropeptides, one class of signaling molecules through which neurons communicate with each other and with other cells. The study appears in The Journal of General Physiology.

Neuropeptides are released from through a process that—like other secretory events—is triggered primarily by the influx of calcium into the neuron through voltage-gated channels. Although neuropeptides are stored in large dense core vesicles (LDCVs) that also contain large amounts of calcium, it has been unclear whether these locally based calcium supplies can also be used to modulate .

A team of researchers led by José Lemos from the University of Massachusetts Medical School examined the mechanisms at play during secretion of vasopressin from in the posterior pituitary gland, which releases the into the blood so that it can make its way to the kidney and regulate water retention. The researchers found that certain intracellular calcium channels known as ryanodine receptors are likely responsible for mobilizing calcium from LDCVs to facilitate vasopressin release.

The findings indicate that neurons have a greater capacity than previously appreciated to fine-tune the release of neuropeptides and thereby their communications with other cells.

More information: Paper: McNally, J.M., et al. 2014. J. Gen. Physiol. DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201311110

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Loose coupling between calcium channels and sensors

Feb 06, 2014

In research published in this week's online edition of Science, postdoc Nicholas Vyleta and Professor Peter Jonas of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria uncover the existence of loose coupling betwee ...

Researchers identify how cells control calcium influx

May 09, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—When brain cells are overwhelmed by an influx of too many calcium molecules, they shut down the channels through which these molecules enter the cells. Until now, the "stop" signal mechanism that cells ...

Recommended for you

Molecular basis of age-related memory loss explained

19 minutes ago

From telephone numbers to foreign vocabulary, our brains hold a seemingly endless supply of information. However, as we are getting older, our ability to learn and remember new things declines. A team of ...

The neurochemistry of addiction

1 hour ago

We've all heard the term "addictive personality," and many of us know individuals who are consistently more likely to take the extra drink or pill that puts them over the edge. But the specific balance of ...

Study examines blood markers, survival in patients with ALS

17 hours ago

The blood biomarkers serum albumin and creatinine appear to be associated with survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and may help define prognosis in patients after they are diagnosed with the fatal ...

User comments