Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat Munster Relies on Bitplane Imaris Software to Visualise Effect of Neurobeachin on Differentiation of Synapses

Published: Apr 04, 2012

4th April 2012, Belfast, UK: One of the challenges facing neuroscience researchers is understanding how nerve cells contact each other to transmit information and which proteins and mechanisms control the formation and function of these synaptic contacts. Most excitatory synapses in the brain are built on actin-rich dendritic protrusions called spines and, as numerous psychiatric and neurological diseases are accompanied by alterations of spine numbers or size, the elucidation of mechanisms that regulate formation and plasticity of spinous synapses is vital.

Now, Bitplane’s advanced Imaris software has enabled a group led by Professor Markus Missler to show that the loss of the protein ‘neurobeachin’ (Nbea) not only disrupts signalling within the neuron but also leads to reduced numbers of spines and the mislocalisation of another common spine protein, synaptopodin.

Dr Katharina Niesmann of Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster used cultured primary nerve cells from the hippocampus of mouse brains for the study. Multicolour labelling followed by observation under epifluorescence and confocal light microscopy enabled the team to study the differentiation of synapses between these cells and observe the effect of Nbea.

“These findings were both unexpected and striking”, according to Professor Missler. “Therefore, we looked for a way of visualising this data in a comprehensive way. We found the ‘ImarisFilamentTracer’ module of the Imaris suite, which was specifically developed for the purpose of analysing and illustrating dendrites as well as spines, invaluable.”

“Fast, precise and easy-to-use, Imaris is a uniquely powerful and versatile solution for the visualisation, analysis and interpretation of 3-D and 4-D images,” says Marcin Barszczewski of Bitplane. “ImarisFilamentTracer is one of a range of several specialist modules, including ImarisTrack, ImaricVantage and ImarisMeasurementPro, that deliver additional flexibility.”

To learn more about scientific image data analysis and characterisation using Imaris software, and access our comprehensive applications area, please visit the Bitplane website (www.bitplane.com).

The image above is available for download. Either click on the image or contact John Waite at Catalyst Communications.


1. Katharina Niesmann, Dorothee Breuer, Johannes Brockhaus, Gesche Born, Ilka Wolff, Carsten Reissner, Manfred W. Kilimann, Astrid Rohlmann & Markus Missler “Dendritic spine formation and synaptic function require neurobeachin,” Nature Communications 2, Article number 557 (2011).

About Bitplane

Bitplane, the world’s leading Interactive Microscopy Image analysis software company, was founded in 1992 and operates out of offices in Zurich, Switzerland, and in South Windsor, CT, USA. Customers in all parts of the world are served with direct representation in the US, Canada, China and Europe and through partner organizations in Asia and Australia. Through constant innovation and a clear focus on 3D and 4D imaging, Bitplane actively shapes the way scientists process microscopic images.

Bitplane was acquired by Andor Technology plc. in 2009. Andor is a world leader in Scientific Imaging, Spectroscopy Solutions and Microscopy Systems, employing over 260 people in 16 offices worldwide, distributing its portfolio of over 70 products to 10,000 customers in 55 countries. Andor’s vast product portfolio and experience brings the capacity and system knowledge to further expand the technological developments from Bitplane. More information about Andor Technology PLC (LSE: AND) is available at the company's website [www.andor.com].

For further information, please contact Andor Technology direct or their marketing agency, Catalyst Communications.

Andor Technology plc.

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