Work in Leon Lagnado’s group in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division is showing how synapses transmit visual signals in the retina of zebrafish. The group designed fluorescent proteins that light up when synapses are active and made transgenic zebrafish expressing these proteins in retinal neurons. They then used a multiphoton microscope to directly observe the activity of synapses in the retina of live fish as they responded to different visual stimuli.
Our cycle of sleep and wakefulness is controlled by a daily (circadian) body clock in our brain. When this cycle happens in a regular way people function well, but when this cycle is disturbed it can lead to a severely disrupted life. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is part of the body clock and individual neurons of the SCN contain their own 24-hour clock, but they operate best when connected together in their neural circuit and run in synchrony.
New research, from a team of scientists in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division and the Texas A&M Health Science Center, illustrates the molecular mechanism behind a fundamental cellular process.
The research, published in PNAS, provides new insights into the way in which components of the nuclear protein transport machinery move through nuclear pores.
New research, led by Leo James and Will McEwan from the LMB’s PNAC Division, has uncovered a previously unrecognised mechanism of intracellular pathogen detection which may provide a deeper understanding of how antibodies help fight disease and lead to the design of better vaccines and gene therapies.
Earlier research from Leo’s group showed that viruses carry antibodies into cells when they infect them .
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a family of cell-surface proteins that are vital for various physiological functions including vision, smell, taste, and behavior. They are also the pharmacological targets of ~30% of prescribed drugs. For example, beta-blocker drugs prescribed for cardiac ailments target the β-adrenoreceptors − known GPCRs. The importance of GPCR biology was emphasised by the latest Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2012), awarded for studies of GPCRs.
Determining the structure of proteins and other biomolecules at the atomic level is central to understanding many aspects of biology. X-ray crystallography is the best known technique for structural biology but, as its name suggests, it only works with samples that can be crystallized. Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) can be used to determine atomic structures of biomolecules that cannot be crystallized, but until now achieving high-resolution cryo-EM structures has been difficult.