How neurons talk to each other – molecular machines at work
Research report (imported) 2012 - Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Neurons are connected with each other by synapses where signaling is mediated by neurotransmitters. In the sender neuron, these transmitters are stored in synaptic vesicles and released by calcium-dependent exocytosis. A quantitative molecular model of a prototype synaptic vesicle has been established. Moreover, the structure of the SNARE-proteins responsible for exocytosis was solved. Reconstitution of the proteins in artificial membranes allowed for a refined understanding of their regulation by calcium and for an identification of intermediate steps in exocytotic membrane fusion.