Two different versions of the same signaling protein tell a nerve cell which end is which, UA researchers have discovered. The findings could help improve therapies for spinal injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.
University of Arizona scientists have discovered an unknown mechanism that establishes polarity in developing nerve cells. Understanding how nerve cells make connections is an important step in developing cures for nerve damage resulting from spinal cord injuries or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In a study published on Aug. 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UA doctoral studentSara Parker and her adviser, assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine Sourav Ghosh, report that the decision which will be the “plus” and the “minus” end in a newborn nerve cell is made by a long and a short version of the same signaling molecule. (more…)