by Leigh MacMillan

Dendritic “spines” — small protrusions on the receiving aspect of the connection (synapse) between two nerve cells — are acknowledged as key purposeful elements of neuronal circuits in mammals. The shapes and numbers of spines are regulated by neuronal exercise and correlate with studying and reminiscence.

Though spine-like protrusions have been reported within the nervous system of the invertebrate worm C. elegans, it isn’t identified if these buildings share purposeful options with vertebrate dendritic spines.

Now, Andrea Cuentas-Condori, Sierra Palumbos, David Miller, PhD, and colleagues have used super-resolution microscopy, electron microscopy, live-cell imaging and genetics to characterize spine-like buildings on C. elegans motor neurons. They report within the journal eLife that C. elegans spines are dynamic buildings that sense and reply to neuronal exercise, like their mammalian counterparts.

The research set up the genetically tractable and clear C. elegans as a mannequin organism for the research of dendritic backbone formation and performance. Reside-cell imaging research and unbiased genetic screens ought to pace the invention of genes that regulate backbone biology.

This analysis was supported by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (grants NS081259 and NS106951), the American Coronary heart Affiliation, the Nationwide Science Basis and the Canadian Institute of Well being Analysis.

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