Press ReleaseDate: 03-26-12
Name: Rob Forman Phone: 973 972 7276
Neuronal Transport Granules " Single Occupancy Vehicles
Proteins involved in transmissions at the axon tips and synapses of neurons travel there in precursor form (known as messenger RNA, or mRNA) as cargo of a structure known as a transport granule. "The idea is that the mRNAs located at the synapse will be translated [into protein] on demand," explains Tyagi, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and at the school's Public Health Research Institute. "And if more than one copy of a protein is required on site," Tyagi adds, "it can be produced from a single mRNA."
Some investigators have suggested that these mRNAs carpool with others in the same granule. But the study by Tyagi and colleagues shows that these mRNAs proceed single file, with only one mRNA per granule. Although it may seem more efficient to transport multiple mRNAs in a single trip, this may not allow the neuron the flexibility it needs for the proper formation and functioning of synapses.
An increased understanding of how these mRNAs are transported to synapses may help scientists unravel the longstanding mystery behind memory generation, which requires the formation of new synapses and the modification of old ones.
Journalists who would like to interview Sanjay Tyagi, PhD, should contact Rob Forman, UMDNJ Chief of News Services, at 973 972 7276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: This study was solely funded by a 3.1 million dollar, 5-year grant to Dr. Tyagi from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH-079197).
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey's only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey's only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.