"Molecular Portals" In Brain Cells Identified

Infinitesimal particles of gold have enabled neurobiologists to track down key molecules in the machinery of "entry points" in neurons -- offering clues to the organization of a region that has thus far remained largely unknown neuronal territory. The researchers -- from Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina -- used electron microscopy to locate molecules tagged with targeted antibodies attached to gold particles -- rendering the molecules' precise location visible. The findings by the researchers, led by Michael Ehlers, M.D., of Duke and Richard Weinberg, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, were published online Aug. 22, 2004, in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Other co-authors are Bence Rácz of UNC and Thomas Blanpied, Ph.D., of Duke. The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the Broad Foundation.

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