New model for neurotransmitter release, proposed by Nobel prize winner

New model for neurotransmitter release, proposed by Nobel prize winner

New research challenges long-standing ideas on how neurotransmitter gets released at neuronal synapses.

via ScienceDaily: Top Health News:

Oct. 10, 2013 — In a Neuron article published online October 10th, recent Nobel Laureate Thomas C. Südhof challenges long-standing ideas on how neurotransmitter gets released at neuronal synapses. On October 7th, Südhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, alongside James Rothman and Randy Schekman, for related work on how vesicles — such as those in neurons that contain neurotransmitter — are transported within cells.Share This:Neurotransmitter-containing vesicles are found inside neurons very close to the end of the axon. Here, they can quickly fuse with the neuronal membrane surrounding the axon to spill their contents into the synapse. How these vesicles are able to fuse with the membrane has been controversial, however, and understanding this process would give researchers much greater insight how neurons communicate with each other. Previously, it was thought that proteins found on the outside of the vesicles and on the axon membrane (called SNARE proteins) would come together and physically form a pore through which the contents of the vesicle — the neurotransmitter — could be released into the synapse. Now, the new findings from Südhof suggest that these proteins may not form a pore at all. Instead, their main role may be to physically force the vesicle and the axon membrane to get very close to each other; once they are forced into contact, the two appear able to fuse spontaneously.”The importance of SNARE transmembrane regions has never been tested in a physiological fusion reaction,” says Dr. Südhof. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Health News

New model for neurotransmitter release, proposed by Nobel prize winner

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