How proteins control information processing in the brain
(Press-News.org) A complicated interaction between different proteins is needed for information to pass from one nerve cell to the next. Researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have now managed to study this process in the synaptic vesicles, which play an important role in this process. The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.
Several billion nerve cells communicate with each other in the body so that humans and other living beings can perceive and react to their environment. A host of complex chemical and electrical processes occur within a few milliseconds. "Special messenger substances - known as neurotransmitters - are released at the synapses of the nerve cells. They transmit information between the individual nerve cells," explains Dr Carla Schmidt, an assistant professor at the Centre for Innovation Competence HALOmem at MLU. The messenger substances are packed into small vesicles called synaptic vesicles, which fuse with the cell membrane in response to an electrical impulse and release the messenger substances. The messenger substances are then recognised by special receptor proteins in the next nerve cell. For this to succeed, numerous proteins have to work together, meshing like cogs in a clockwork mechanism. However, too little is currently known about how this process precisely works, says Schmidt.
The researchers have used a special form of mass spectrometry to investigate the process. Cross-linking mass spectrometry helps identify the interaction sites of the proteins. These are mixed with a substance that binds together nearby proteins. This substance reacts at different places depending on how the proteins interact with one another. The mass spectrometer analyses the binding patterns, which can be used to draw conclusions about the arrangement of the proteins. This enables researchers to examine different stages of the vesicles and to detect which protein networks have formed.
The study from Halle enables a more thorough understanding of the process of signal transmission in nerve cells. Knowledge about normal processes helps scientists recognize and understand malfunctions that could trigger diseases such as Alzheimer's.
The study was supported bei the Federal Ministiry of Research and Education in Germany, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation.
Study: Wittig S. et al. Cross-linking mass spectrometry uncovers protein interactions and functional assemblies in synaptic vesicle membranes. Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21102-w
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
A study presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (held online, 10-13 May) supports recommendations to avoid pregnancy for 12 months after bariatric (obesity) surgery due to an association with adverse outcomes in pregnancy including an elevated risk of preterm birth. The study is by Dr Laura Heusschen, Vitalys Obesity Clinic, part of Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, The Netherlands, and colleagues.
More than half of all female patients who undergo bariatric surgery are of reproductive age, and the resulting weight loss improves fertility, as well as reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. It also ...
The first global review of complementary medicines (herbal and dietary supplements) for weight loss in 16 years--combining 121 randomised placebo-controlled trials including nearly 10,000 adults--suggests that their use cannot be justified based on the current evidence.
The findings of two studies, being presented at The European Congress on Obesity (ECO) held online this year, suggest that although some herbal and dietary supplements show statistically greater weight loss than placebo, it is not enough to benefit health, and the authors call for more research into their long-term safety.
Vegetarians appear to have a healthier biomarker profile than meat-eaters, and this applies to adults of any age and weight, and is also unaffected by smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a new study in over 166,000 UK adults, being presented at this week's European Congress on Obesity (ECO), held online this year.
Biomarkers can have bad and good health effects, promoting or preventing cancer, cardiovascular and age-related diseases, and other chronic conditions, and have been widely used to assess the effect of diets on health. However, evidence of the metabolic benefits associated with being vegetarian is unclear.
To understand ...
Lugano, Switzerland, 8 May 2021 - The finding that breast tumours can evolve to express low HER2 potentially widens the number of patients who can benefit from new investigational agents, typically novel antibody-drug conjugate therapies, that are currently in clinical trials for HER2-low tumours.
The first study of its kind exploring how breast cancers change from the primary to the recurrent tumour has revealed that nearly 30% of breast cancer patients convert from, or to, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)2-low status. Specifically, the study found that 14% of triple-negative breast cancers with HER2-negative expression (also referred to as HER2-0) in the primary tumour converted to HER2-low expression in the recurrent tumour ...
Mild Covid-19 infection is very unlikely to cause lasting damage to the structure or function of the heart, according to a study led by UCL (University College London) researchers and funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Barts Charity.
The researchers say the results, published in JACC Cardiovascular Imaging, should reassure the public, as they relate to the vast majority of people who had Covid-19 infections with mild or no symptoms.
This study of 149 healthcare workers recruited from Barts Health and Royal Free London NHS Trusts is the largest and most detailed study to date into ...
The air in the United States and Western Europe is much cleaner than even a decade ago. Low-sulfur gasoline standards and regulations on power plants have successfully cut sulfate concentrations in the air, reducing the fine particulate matter that harms human health and cleaning up the environmental hazard of acid rain.
Despite these successes, sulfate levels in the atmosphere have declined more slowly than sulfur dioxide emissions, especially in wintertime. This unexpected phenomenon suggests sulfur dioxide emission reductions are less efficient than expected for cutting sulfate aerosols. A new study led by Tokyo ...
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, does not lead to higher rates of death or severe disease in patients who are hospitalised with COVID-19, according to a new observational study of more than 72,000 people in the UK published in The Lancet Rheumatology journal.
NSAIDs are common treatments for acute pain and rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthrosis. Early in the pandemic, there was debate on whether the use of such drugs increased the severity of COVID-19, which led to urgent calls for investigations between NSAIDs and COVID-19.
The ISARIC CCP-UK (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging ...
The most comprehensive study of the family tree for legumes, the plant family that includes beans, soybeans, peanuts, and many other economically important crop plants, reveals a history of whole-genome duplications. The study also helps to uncover the evolution of genes involved in nitrogen fixation--a key trait likely important in the evolutionary spread and diversification of legumes and vital for their use as "green manure" in agriculture. To reconstruct the family tree, researchers compared the DNA sequence of more than 1500 genes from 463 different legume species, including 391 newly sequenced species, that span the diversity of this large plant family.
A paper describing the ...
With the COVID-19 vaccines on many people's minds, some may be surprised to learn that we do not yet have vaccines for many common infectious diseases.
Take salmonella, for example, which can infect people through contaminated food, water and animals. According to the World Health Organization, non-typhoidal salmonella infection affects more than 95 million people globally each year, leading to an estimated 2 million deaths annually. There is no approved vaccine for salmonella in humans, and some strains are antibiotic-resistant.
But just as scientists spent decades doing the ...
For some people, social gatherings can be a time to imbibe. And for some, that can turn into a time to overindulge. But how do your neighborhood and your social network affect binge drinking?
Along with colleagues at the RAND corporation in Santa Monica, Indiana University researcher Hank Green examined how neighborhood and social network characteristics were related to adult binge drinking. He and his co-authors found that both factors play a role in how much someone drinks, information that can help us better understand binge drinking among adults.
The study was published in the journal Health and Place, indexed in Science Direct and PubMed.
"Adults living ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] How proteins control information processing in the brain