Dr. Tal Dankovich, first author of the publication and Postdoc at the Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, UMG. Photo: Medienservice MPI for Biophysical Chemistry (P. Goldmann) Visualization of the extra-cellular matrix in cultured neurons. Source: Dr. Tal Dankovich, UMG.

Left: Dr. Tal Dankovich, first author of the publication and Postdoc at the Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, UMG. Photo: Medienservice MPI for Biophysical Chemistry (P. Goldmann)
Right: Visualization of the extra-cellular matrix in cultured neurons. Source: Dr. Tal Dankovich, UMG.

How matrix recycling keeps the brain flexible

Scientists of the Cluster of Excellence Multiscale Bioimaging describe a new mechanism that supports synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. Published in Nature Communications.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) gives cell assemblies their structure and plays an important role in cell communication and control. In the adult brain, it forms lattices that sheath nerve cells and synapses. The frequent structural changes at synapses necessitate continuous remodeling of this lattice structure. Researchers at the Göttingen Cluster of Excellence “Multiscale Bioimaging: From Molecular Machines to Networks of Excitable Cells” (MBExC) now describe a new remodeling mechanism based on the recycling of individual components of the ECM that is closely linked to synaptic activity. This finding is relevant for clinical research, as a variety of brain diseases are associated with changes in the ECM. Recently, the results of the team around Prof. Dr. Silvio O. Rizzoli, Director of the Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), speaker of the Center for Biostructural Imaging in Neurodegeneration (BIN), and member of the MBExC were published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.