New regulator discovered for information transfer in the brain

June 20, 2013, University of Basel
Neuron with synaptic contacts. Credit: Biozentrum

The protein mSYD1 has a key function in transmitting information between neurons. This was recently discovered by the research group of Prof Peter Scheiffele at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. The findings of the investigations have been published in the scientific journal Neuron.

are the most important sites of between neurons. The functioning of our brain is based on the ability of the synapses to release neurotransmitter substances in a fraction of a second, so that neuronal signals can be rapidly propagated and integrated. Peter Scheiffele's team has now identified a new mechanism, which ensures that synaptic vesicles, the carrier of the transmitter substances, are concentrated at their designated place, thereby contributing to rapid .

mSYD1 as organizer of synaptic structures

The speed and precision of synaptic transmission is based on a highly complex protein apparatus in the synapse. A concentration of synaptic vesicles is found at the synaptic contact sites between neurons. When a nerve cell is activated, vesicles fuse with the edge of the synapse, the so-called active zone, and send neurotransmitters to the neighboring cells.

Peter Scheiffele's research group has now identified a previously unknown protein called mSYD1, which regulates the deposition of the vesicles at the active zone. In , in which no mSYD1 protein is present, synaptic contacts continue to be formed but the accumulation of the synaptic vesicles at the active zone is disrupted. This results in a significant reduction of synaptic transmission.

Inactive mSYD1 in autistic disorders

These findings provide important new insights into the mechanisms underlying the formation of functional . In patients with a belonging the autism spectrum, mSYD1 is one of a group of genes that are inactivated. In further investigations, the research group is now looking at how the inactivation of mSYD1 affects the behavior of mice, in order to gain insights into the fundamental neuronal defects associated with autism.

Explore further: Scientists discover key mechanism that boosts signalling function of neurons in the brain

More information: Wentzel, C. et al. (2013): mSYD1A, a Mammalian Synapse-Defective-1 Protein, Regulates Synaptogenic Signaling and Vesicle Docking, Neuron; Published online June 19, 2013. www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S … -6273%2813%2900403-0

Related Stories

Scientists discover key mechanism that boosts signalling function of neurons in the brain

June 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Locating a car that's blowing its horn in heavy traffic, channel-hopping between football and a thriller on TV without losing the plot, and not forgetting the start of a sentence by the time we have read ...

Scientists reverse disorder of neuronal circuits in autism

September 14, 2012
People with autism suffer from a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain that becomes evident in early childhood. Peter Scheiffele and Kaspar Vogt, Professors at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, have identified ...

Efficient signal transmission at sensory system synapses

June 19, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Neurophysiologist like to think of neurons as communicating with spikes. If that were the whole story, it might be possible to imagine spike codes which could then be used to estimate the flow of information, ...

Scientists discover the origin of a giant synapse

May 26, 2013
Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. We use this ability all the time—crossing the street; locating an invisible ringing cell phone in a cluttered bedroom. To accomplish ...

Researchers clock the speed of brain signals

June 22, 2011
Two studies featuring research from Weill Cornell Medical College have uncovered surprising details about the complex process that leads to the flow of neurotransmitters between brain neurons -- a dance of chemical messages ...

Recommended for you

Your brain responses to music reveal if you're a musician or not

January 23, 2018
How your brain responds to music listening can reveal whether you have received musical training, according to new Nordic research conducted in Finland (University of Jyväskylä and AMI Center) and Denmark (Aarhus University).

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.