By illuminating certain proteins and blocking and unblocking just one of the myriad pathways inside a neuron, a team from the University of Southern California recorded, on video, how proteins shuttle along inside a jellyfish cell (see video after the jump).
The short video shows vesicles carrying the glowing proteins entering both the axon and the dendrite sections of the neuron; when they enter the axon, though, they stop and reverse course, the researchers said.
"Your brain is being disassembled and reassembled every day," said Don Arnold, associate professor of molecular and computational biology at USC and corresponding author of an article about the research (which appeared in Cell Reports on July 26). "One week from today, your brain will be made up of completely different proteins than it is today," Arnold said in a press release. "This video shows the process. We've known that it was happening, but now we can watch it happen."
Journal: Sarmad Al-Bassam, Min Xu, Thomas J. Wandless, Don B. Arnold. Differential Trafficking of Transport Vesicles Contributes to the Localization of Dendritic Proteins. Cell Reports, 2012; 2 (1): 89 DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2012.05.018. Research funded by National Institutes of Health grants NS-041963 and MH-086381