New research sheds light on neuronal communication

Jan 4, 2016

neurosciencestuff:

New research sheds light on neuronal communication

Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
have uncovered a critical molecule that regulates synaptic transmission

Synaptic proteins and neuronal transmission

A synapse consists of a presynaptic terminal of one neuron and a
postsynaptic terminal of another. The presynaptic terminal stores
vesicles containing neurotransmitters, while the postsynaptic terminal
contains neurotransmitter receptors. A dense collection of proteins is
present in these terminals, however the functional role of many of these
proteins remains unknown.

In particular, the G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting
proteins (GITs) exert a critical control in synaptic transmission, since
deletions of these proteins are lethal or cause sensory deficits and
cognitive impairments in mice. In particular, GIT proteins and the
pathways they regulate have been implicated in neurological disorders
such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Huntington’s
Disease. Several studies have demonstrated the role of GITs in the
postsynaptic terminal, but very little is known about their role in the
presynaptic terminal. Researchers in Samuel Young Jr.’s research team at
the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience set out to
investigate the role of GITs in the giant synapse, the calyx of Held, of
the auditory system – the optimal model to study the presynaptic
terminal independently from the postsynaptic terminal.

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