National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the MBL

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts and supports research on brain and nervous system disorders. The mission of the NINDS is to reduce the burden of neurological disease—a burden borne by every age group, every segment of society, and people all over the world. To accomplish this goal the NINDS supports and conducts research, both basic and clinical, on the normal and diseased nervous system, fosters the training of investigators in the basic and clinical neurosciences, and seeks better understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurological disorders.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Preprint
    Squid giant axon contains neurofilament protein mRNA but does not synthesize neurofilament proteins
    ( 2016-05-05) Gainer, Harold ; House, Shirley ; Kim, Dong Sun ; Chin, Hemin ; Pant, Harish C.
    When isolated squid giant axons are incubated in radioactive amino acids, abundant newly synthesized proteins are found in the axoplasm. These proteins are translated in the adaxonal Schwann cells and subsequently transferred into the giant axon. The question as to whether any de novo protein synthesis occurs in the giant axon itself is difficult to resolve because the small contribution of the proteins possibly synthesized intra-axonally is not easily distinguished from the large amounts of the proteins being supplied from the Schwann cells. In this paper we reexamine this issue by studying the synthesis of endogenous neurofilament (NF) proteins in the axon. Our laboratory previously showed that NF mRNA and protein is present in the squid giant axon, but not in the surrounding adaxonal glia. Therefore, if the isolated squid axon could be shown to contain newly synthesized NF protein de novo, it could not arise from the adaxonal glia. The results of experiments in this paper show that abundant 3H-labeled NF protein is synthesized in the squid giant fiber lobe containing the giant axon’s neuronal cell bodies, but despite the presence of NF mRNA in the giant axon, no labeled NF protein is detected in the giant axon. This lends support to the Glia-Axon Protein Transfer Hypothesis which posits that the squid giant axon obtains newly synthesized protein by Schwann cell transfer and not through intra-axonal protein synthesis, and further suggests that the NF mRNA in the axon is in a translationally repressed state.
  • Article
    Axonal maintenance, glia, exosomes, and heat shock proteins
    (F1000 Research, 2016-02-22) Tytell, Michael ; Lasek, Raymond J. ; Gainer, Harold
    Of all cellular specializations, the axon is especially distinctive because it is a narrow cylinder of specialized cytoplasm called axoplasm with a length that may be orders of magnitude greater than the diameter of the cell body from which it originates. Thus, the volume of axoplasm can be much greater than the cytoplasm in the cell body. This fact raises a logistical problem with regard to axonal maintenance. Many of the components of axoplasm, such as soluble proteins and cytoskeleton, are slowly transported, taking weeks to months to travel the length of axons longer than a few millimeters after being synthesized in the cell body. Furthermore, this slow rate of supply suggests that the axon itself might not have the capacity to respond fast enough to compensate for damage to transported macromolecules. Such damage is likely in view of the mechanical fragility of an axon, especially those innervating the limbs, as rapid limb motion with high impact, like running, subjects the axons in the limbs to considerable mechanical force. Some researchers have suggested that local, intra-axonal protein synthesis is the answer to this problem. However, the translational state of axonal RNAs remains controversial. We suggest that glial cells, which envelop all axons, whether myelinated or not, are the local sources of replacement and repair macromolecules for long axons. The plausibility of this hypothesis is reinforced by reviewing several decades of work on glia-axon macromolecular transfer, together with recent investigations of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles, as vehicles for the transmission of membrane and cytoplasmic components from one cell to another.
  • Article
    Envelope structure of Synechococcus sp. WH8113, a nonflagellated swimming cyanobacterium
    (BioMed Central, 2001-04-24) Samuel, Aravinthan D. T. ; Petersen, Jennifer D. ; Reese, Thomas S.
    Many bacteria swim by rotating helical flagellar filaments. Waterbury et al. discovered an exception, strains of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus that swim without flagella or visible changes in shape. Other species of cyanobacteria glide on surfaces. The hypothesis that Synechococcus might swim using traveling surface waves prompted this investigation. Results Using quick-freeze electron microscopy, we have identified a crystalline surface layer that encloses the outer membrane of the motile strain Synechococcus sp. WH8113, the components of which are arranged in a rhomboid lattice. Spicules emerge in profusion from the layer and extend up to 150 nm into the surrounding fluid. These spicules also send extensions inwards to the inner cell membrane where motility is powered by an ion-motive force. Conclusion The envelope structure of Synechococcus sp. WH8113 provides new constraints on its motile mechanism. The spicules are well positioned to transduce energy at the cell membrane into mechanical work at the cell surface. One model is that an unidentified motor embedded in the cell membrane utilizes the spicules as oars to generate a traveling wave external to the surface layer in the manner of ciliated eukaryotes.