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Live broadcast from inside the nerve cell

For the first time, researchers observe in

Scientists estimate that our brain consists of about ten to one hundred billions of . In order to fulfill their respective tasks as long as possible, these cells have to constantly control their internal proteins with regard to quality and functionality. Otherwise the proteins might clump together and thereby paralyze or even kill the cells. Once the cell recognizes a defect protein, this is marked for degradation and a kind of a molecular shredder, the so-called proteasome, chops it into pieces that are eventually recycled.

Protein Degradation by the Proteasome in Neurons
The proteasomes (grey) of the (neuron) are equipped with the regulatory particles at their ends. These structures change their shape depending on whether they have bound (red) proteins which have to be degraded (green) or not (blue).
Credit:Figure: Shoh Asano / Copyright: MPI of Biochemistry


Original publication:

Asano S, Fukuda Y, Beck F, Aufderheide A, Förster F, Danev R and Baumeister W: A molecular census of 26S proteasomes in intact neurons . Science, January 23, 2015

Doi: 10.1126/science.1261197

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry