New type of plasticity in neurosecretory cells

9 Dec 2013

Monday 9 December 2013

Scientists at The University of Queensland's QBI have discovered a new type of plasticity in neurosecretory cells.

Until now, studies had shown that when releasing neurotransmitters, vesicles containing transmitters fused to a specific site of the plasma membrane.

This is a novel property of a neurosecretory cell enabling it to change its internal parameters in response to stimulation.

This research falls in line with the overarching project of the Meunier Lab, aiming at understanding how vesicles containing neurotransmitter reach and fuse with the plasma membrane.

The study was performed by Dr Andreas Papadopolous who discovered that sustained stimulation of these cells elicited filipodia-like structures.

Intrigued by this, he then discovered that vesicles colonised the filipodia, where they undergo fusion.

This new type of plasticity may lead to better understanding the mechanism underpinning memory acquisition such as long term potentiation in neurons.

The paper was published in the Journal of Neuroscience on 4 December 2013.