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Long-term potentiation changes cell structures

Description:
Professor James Eberwine discusses the structural changes in a cell related to long-term potentiation. These include changes in the shape of dendritic spines.
Transcript:
One of the key questions associated with neuronal functioning is how form relates to function. So, in neurons one has dendrites that contain synapses which allow communication of one cell to another cell. During experience, during long-term potentiation, where those neurons are stimulated in a particular manner, the morphology of a cell changes, the morphology of a synapse changes. That’s related to gene expression in that you have protein abundance changes, RNA changes and it's those changes that underline the physiological changes that then are reflected in functional changes in the cell. In terms of the changes that would modulate LTP (long-term potentiation) within a cell and the underlying morphological changes, you have stimulation from a presynaptic cell where an axon abuts a postsynaptic cell at the dendrite forming a synapse. When you have stimulation of that synapse, you have protein synthesis within that subcellular site, which then modulates the morphology of the cell and sends signals back to the nucleus of the cell, so that you have longer term changes. So you have RNA and protein differences. One of the ways in which the protein differences are manifest is that the dendritic spine, which is where the synapse forms, can elongate, can become shorter, can disappear. It is those changes that underlie the synaptic connections that people think are dysfunctional during cognitive dysfunction.
Keywords:
long term potentiation, ltp, morphology, cell, structure, dendritic spine, protein synthesis, cognitive dysfunction, synaptic connections, spines, synapse, james eberwine
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