Brain Microtubules Can Stand Independently. (Source: Science Daily)

The brain biochemistry is the centerpiece for the majority of most neurodevelopmental disorder research, including autism. Neurons, brain tissue, the interaction between lobes, it can all provide vital new information on these types of disorders. The most recent study focused on tracking down the issue of mislocated neurons.
The study found that sliding, independent microtubules play a hand in how neurons are distributed and reach their destinations throughout the brain. This discovery can shed light on how neurons go off path in disorders, such as autism.
The study took place at the Drexel University using electron tomography, the most effective available method for imaging. During the process, the researchers saw how several microtubules were not connected to the centrosome. These microtubules could be pushed around the neuron as it moves due to motor proteins.
Peter Baas, PhD, a professor in the College of Medicine, was the main investigator for the research study.
“This study is important for understanding how a healthy brain is organized,” Baas said. “If neurons do not know when to start migrating, or where to go, or if the axons don’t grow long enough, that sort of thing can give way to disorders such as autism.”
The researchers also applied a drug to the microtubules in order to immobilize them. This resulted in the neurons randomly changing their direction multiple times, as opposed to in a direct line.
“When we used the drug that inhibits sliding, we saw that the neuron can’t migrate in a nice straight, smooth trajectory,” Baas said. “That’s how we found out that little bit of sliding that normally occurs is really important for maneuverability.”
“If any of these mechanisms – with ninein or any of these motor proteins — are disrupted, there can be problems anywhere along the way,” Baas said.
These results proved that small changes to a neuron could translate into a big consequence, possibly leading to neurodevelopmental disorders.
For more information, check out the source for this blog post, Science Daily.
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