A challenge in neuroscience research is to understand the mechanisms underlying synapse formation and how nerve cells contact each other to transmit information.
Most excitatory synapses in the brain are built on actin-rich dendritic protrusions called spines and, as numerous psychiatric and neurological diseases are accompanied by alterations of spine numbers or size, the elucidation of mechanisms that regulate formation and plasticity of spinous synapses is vital.
The 'ImarisFilamentTracer' module of the Imaris suite from Bitplane has enabled a group led by Professor Markus Missler from the Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster to show that the loss of the protein 'neurobeachin' (Nbea) not only disrupts signalling within the neuron but also leads to reduced numbers of spines and the mislocalization of another common spine protein, synaptopodin.
Dr Katharina Niesmann of Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster used cultured primary nerve cells from the hippocampus of mouse brains for the study. Multicolor labeling followed by observation under epifluorescence and confocal light microscopy enabled the team to study the differentiation of synapses between these cells and observe the effect of Nbea.
Statement of Professor Markus Missler
"These findings were both unexpected and striking. Therefore, we looked for a way of visualizing this data in a comprehensive way. We found the 'ImarisFilamentTracer' module of the Imaris suite, which was specifically developed for the purpose of analyzing and illustrating dendrites as well as spines, invaluable."
Related Articles :
Keywords: Andor Astrid Rohlmann Bitplane Brain Brain Disease Brain Research Carsten Reissner Cell Culture Dendrite Dorothee Breuer Gesche Born Ilka Wolff image processing Imaris ImarisFilamentTracer Johannes Brockhaus Katharina Niesmann Manfred W. Kilimann Markus Missler Neurobeachin Neuroscience Professor Markus Missler software Synapses Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterCompany Homepage
Andor Technolgy PLC
7 Millenium Way
BT12 7AL Belfast
Tel: +44 28 9023 7126
Fax: +44 28 9031 0792
Imaging & Microscopy Issue 1 , 2013 as free epaper or pdf download