Rapid-fire exchanges between the brain’s billions of nerve cells, or neurons, underlie all of our emotions and behaviour. Whether we are playing sport, falling in love or savouring the flavour of food, chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters spill from one neuron to another, triggering electrical signals that flash through our body. Our understanding of neurotransmission has increased greatly from the pioneering work of Richard Scheller and Thomas Südhof, who will today receive the Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research at a ceremony in New York. They identified proteins that play vital roles in this biological relay. The work continues today – for example this ultra-high resolution image shows how proteins called Munc18-1 (stained red) and SNAP-25 (green) are distributed inside a neuron from a mouse brain.
Written by Mick Warwicker
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