May 28, 2013

Preventing ‘traffic jams’ in brain cells

An Alzheimer’s disease protein controls the speed at which materials move through brain cells, and defects could lead to deadly pileups of the kind seen in neurodegenerative disease, a new publication finds

Imagine if you could open up your brain and look inside.
What you would see is a network of nerve cells called neurons, each with its own internal highway system for transporting essential materials between different parts of the cell.

When this biological machinery is operating smoothly, tiny motor proteins ferry precious cargo up and down each neuron along thread-like roadways called microtubule tracks. Brain cells are able to receive information, make internal repairs and send instructions to the body, telling the fingers to flex or the toes to curl.