1. Glowing Reports from Mitochondria
Krish Chandrasekaran, Julie Hazelton, Yu Wang, Gary Fiskum, and Tibor Kristian
In the fictional Star Wars universe, the Jedi have in their cells microscopic organisms, called midichlorians, which enable them to communicate with the Force." Us humans are stuck with just plain mitochondria. Although not as flashy, these ancient organelles perform essential metabolic functions. This week, Chadrasekaran et al. designed a system to explore their role in forebrain neurons. To specifically label neuronal mitochondria, the authors crossed mice expressing a mitochondrial-targeted, enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) under control of a tetracycline-responsive element, with mice expressing the tetracycline-controlled transactivator protein driven by a forebrain (neuron)-specific promoter. In these mice, eYFP turned on in neuronal mitochondria when the animals received a doxycycline-free diet. With this model system, the authors will be able to ask all kinds of interesting questions, and in the best spirit of The Journal of Neuroscience, these mice will be made available to the community. May the force be with them!
2. The Repertoire of RNAs in Nerve Cell Processes
Michael M. Poon, Sang-Hyun Choi, Christina A. M. Jamieson, Daniel H. Geschwind, and Kelsey C. Martin
Neurons transcribe mRNAs in their cell bodies; a small fraction of these mRNAs then travel into dendrites where they are translated. This local translation provides a means for neurons to quickly alter the protein composition of synapses in response to a specific stimulus. To identify mRNAs localized to the dendrites of hippocampal neurons, Poon et al. grew the neurons on custom filters with etched 3m pores and then mechanically separated axons, dendrites, and glial processes from cell bodies. They identified >100 mRNAs potentially localized to these processes by microarray analysis. Nineteen mRNAs were picked for furt
Contact: Sara Harris
Society for Neuroscience