An initiation mechanism for dendritic spines discovered

An initiation mechanism for dendritic spines discovered
Time frames of MIM and F-actin dynamics during initiation of dendritic spine. MIM initiates dendritic spines by coupling phosphoinositide-signaling, direct membrane bending and actin assembly together to ensure proper synaptogenesis. Credit: Pirta Hotulainen and Juha Saarikangas

Researchers from the University of Helsinki, ETH Zürich, Aix-Marseille and the German Mouse Clinic teamed up to investigate the initiation process of dendritic spines. They discovered that protein called MIM bends the plasma membrane to aid the formation of dendritic spines from the surface of the neuronal dendrite.

The discovery is important, as most of the , called synapses, are build to . In many central nervous system diseases, the dendritic spine density is altered.

"Understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the initiation process of dendritic enables us to manipulate their initiation rate and density. In future, this knowledge can be helpful in the development of therapeutic interventions for neurological diseases underlined by altered dendritic spine density, such as , Schizophrenia or Alzheimer´s disease. Furthermore, this will help us to understand the molecular basis of learning, as new spines are readily initiated during learning," says project leader Pirta Hotulainen from the Neuroscience Center of the University of Helsinki.

This research has been collaboration between many distinct research groups combining cell biology to neuroscience. "No sole research group could have achieved such a comprehensive view of the dendritic spine initiation mechanism and show its importance for the brain function," says Pirta Hotulainen.

Explore further

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder associated with dendritic spine loss in brain

Citation: An initiation mechanism for dendritic spines discovered (2015, June 5) retrieved 7 August 2020 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments