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Synapse in Bloom

eton image

© M.-L. Parmentier, B. Franco/CNRS Photothèque


 

A Technicolor bonsai plowing under early spring blooms or just a delicate silk stencil shimmering on the back of a kimono? Well, think smaller, and less Japanese. You are looking at a neuro-muscular junction in the tiny larva of a fruit fly. In this image, a neuron's long tentacle (in green) transmits information to a muscle cell (in red). The long, sinuous blue streak in the center of the picture is the neuron's cytoskeleton, a sort of cellular “scaffolding” that protects and maintains the cell's shape. In humans, weaknesses in this protective structure have been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. By using immunostaining (staining via labeled antibodies), CNRS researchers at the IGF1 in Montpellier can highlight what happens before and after the synapse (in yellow) where neuron and muscle meet. The study of these minuscule multi-colored pathways will help them understand how, where, and why disorders develop and offset neuromuscular transmissions.

 

L. H.

Notes :

1. Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle (CNRS / INSERM / Universités Montpellier 1 and 2).

Contacts :

Marie-Laure Parmentier, IGF, Montpellier.
marie-laure.parmentier@igf.cnrs.fr


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