NEUROSCIENCE: Glutamate Applies the Brakes

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Science  21 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5478, pp. 361c
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5478.361c

Neurofilaments form structural networks in neurons and are transported from the neuronal cell body (the site of synthesis) into the axons via a process known as slow axonal transport. Using neurofilament subunits tagged with a fluorophore, Ackerley et al. show that glutamate, a neurotransmitter which at high concentrations leads to excitotoxicity, can alter neurofilament transport. Glutamate slowed neurofilament transport, most probably due to stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, which are capable of phosphorylating neurofilament subunits. This observation provides a mechanistic link between excitotoxicity and neurofilament accumulation associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. — SMH

J. Cell Biol. 150, 165 (2000).

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