Neurons can use local stores for communication needs

May 26, 2014, Rockefeller University
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.

Explore further: Research reveals new depths of complexity in nerve cells

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

Related Stories

Research reveals new depths of complexity in nerve cells

March 24, 2014
Research from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation reveals a new complexity to nerve cells in the brain that could affect future therapies aimed at altering mood and memory in humans.

Eavesdropping on brain cell chatter: Novel tools learn how astrocytes listen in on neurons

April 16, 2014
Everything we do—all of our movements, thoughts and feelings – are the result of neurons talking with one another, and recent studies have suggested that some of the conversations might not be all that private. Brain ...

Loose coupling between calcium channels and sensors

February 6, 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 between calcium ...

Researchers identify how cells control calcium influx

May 9, 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 ...

New methods to explore astrocyte effects on brain function

April 29, 2013
A study in The Journal of General Physiology presents new methods to evaluate how astrocytes contribute to brain function, paving the way for future exploration of these important brain cells at unprecedented levels of detail.

Researchers discover how heart arrhythmia occurs

January 19, 2014
Researchers have discovered the fundamental biology of calcium waves in relation to heart arrhythmias.

Recommended for you

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, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain

January 17, 2018
University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response ...

Midbrain 'start neurons' control whether we walk or run

January 17, 2018
Locomotion comprises the most fundamental movements we perform. It is a complex sequence from initiating the first step, to stopping when we reach our goal. At the same time, locomotion is executed at different speeds to ...

Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently

January 16, 2018
Keith Jarret, world-famous jazz pianist, once answered in an interview when asked if he would ever be interested in doing a concert where he would play both jazz and classical music: "No, that's hilarious. [...] It's like ...

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.