A push makes neuron longer

Mar 30, 2010

Some neurons from spinal cord have quite long neurites, but the molecular mechanism of long-neurite outgrowth has been still mysterious. The research team led by Assistant Professor Koji Shibasaki in Gumma University and Professor Makoto Tominaga in National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS) in Japan, reported that TRPV2 receptor can act as mechanical stretch-sensor in developing neurons to help their neurites grow much longer. They report their finding in Journal of Neuroscience published on March 31, 2010.

TRPV2 receptor has been known as noxious heat-sensor (activated by >52°C). The research group found that, during early embryonic stages, TRPV2 had been already expressed in restricted neurons (spinal motor neurons and DRG sensory neurons), although embryos don't have any situation to be exposed to such high temperature. Thus, these results strongly indicate that TRPV2 has a distinct role to contribute neuronal development except for its thermo-sensitive role. The research group found that activation of TRPV2 in developing neurons caused further axon outgrowth. Endogenous TRPV2 was activated in a membrane-stretch dependent manner in developing . Thus, for the first time, Dr. Shibasaki and the research group elucidated that TRPV2 is an important regulator for axon outgrowth through its activation by mechanical membrane stretch during development.

"We revealed the why spinal motor and DRG sensory axons can extend such long neuritis toward peripheral tissues. It is really important finding that extending axon can convert mechanical power to electrical energy. I hypothesized that axon outgrowth is regulated by the positive feedback mechanisms through membrane stretch. Now, we can explain why rehabilitation is necessary to improve severe neuronal damage (ex. after traffic accident). The answer could be the activation of TRPV2 by movement of damaged tissue. This molecular mechanism can be applied to neuronal repair, if we can synthesize TRPV2 targeted medication", said Dr Shibasaki.

Explore further: New study of self-awareness in MS has implications for rehabilitation

Provided by National Institute for Physiological Sciences

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists discover how protein trips up germs (w/ Video)

Feb 17, 2010

If bad bacteria lurk in your system, chances are they will bump into the immune system's protective cells whose job is gobbling germs. The catch is that these do-gooders, known as macrophages, ingest and destroy only those ...

Protein is linked to functional development of brain neurons

Jun 18, 2007

Rockefeller University investigators say that a molecule that helps transport cargo inside nerve cells may have another, critically important, role related to how developing neurons sprout the projections that relay electrical ...

Recommended for you

From happiness to pain: Understanding serotonin's function

9 hours ago

In a study published today, in the scientific journal PLoS One, researchers at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme establish the effect of serotonin on sensitivity to pain using a combination of advanced genetic and op ...

The striatum acts as hub for multisensory integration

18 hours ago

A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden provides insight on how the brain processes external input such as touch, vision or sound from different sources and sides of the body, in order to select ...

User comments : 0