Skip to content

Researchers identify the control mechanism of synapse formation.

The brain controls all functions in the body and interprets information from the outside world with intelligence, creativity, emotion, and memory all governed by the central nervous system.  The central nervous system is made up of glial cells and neurons, additionally, the latter comes in many sizes and shapes, all consisting of a cell body, dendrites, and an axon. Neurons convey information through electrical and chemical signals via a synapse in a process called neurotransmission, without this crucial action the brain, and by extension, the body would not function.  Now, a study led by researchers at GIST identifies the control mechanisms of synapse formation.  The team states they have also provided the previously unknown three-dimensional structure of proteins regulating neuronal synapses.  The study is published in the journal Neuron.

Previous studies show that membrane-associated mucin domain-containing glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor proteins (MDGAs) bind directly to neuroligin-1 (NL1) and neuroligin-2 (NL2), thereby respectively regulating excitatory and inhibitory synapse development. However, the mechanisms by which MDGAs modulate NL activity to specify the development of the two synapse types remain unclear.  The current study provides structural insights into the mechanism MDGAs use to negatively modulate synapse development governed by NLs.

The current study utilizes protein crystallography to crystallize NL2 and MDGA1 protein complexes involved in inhibitory synapse development, and observe the three-dimensional structure. Results show MDGA1 protein at the post-synapse interferes with the binding between NL2 & Neurexin, stopping inhibitory synapse formation.

Data findings show the protein interaction site is a critical functional region for the negative regulation of the synapse development process.  Results show MDGA1 can effectively control inhibitory synapse formation as the binding ability of MDGA1 is superior to Neurexin while MDGA1 and Neurexin can both competitively bind with NL2.

The team surmises they have identified the mechanism of the molecular regulation of MDGA1 protein necessary for the balanced operation of excitatory and inhibitory synapses.  For the future, the researchers state they will continue to investigate the mechanisms of brain diseases caused by dysfunction of synaptic proteins to develop therapeutic drugs.

Source: Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST)

Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

2 thoughts on “Researchers identify the control mechanism of synapse formation. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.