Sep 2, 2022

Scientists Uncover New Kind Of Synapse Between The “Tiny Hairs” On Brain Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Scientists from the Janelia Campus at Howard Hughes Medical Institute have made a surprising discovery, and it might help explain how brain cells communicate long-term changes to each other. Their findings, reported in the journal Cell, describe a new synapse between axons and primary cilia – hair-like structures present on different cell types including neurons.

Synapses normally span between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite of another, however, the new findings suggest that axons could take an alternative, shorter route and connect to special junctions of primary cilia to rapidly signal information to the cell’s nucleus, forming a new kind of synapse not seen before.

“This special synapse represents a way to change what is being transcribed or made in the nucleus, and that changes whole programs,” Janelia Senior Group Leader David Clapham, whose team led the new research, said in a statement.

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