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    ABSTRACT: Cytomatrix at the active zone (CAZ)-associated structural protein (CAST) was first purified from the synaptic junction fraction of biochemically isolated central nervous system, and initially implicated as a critical component of the active zone. Subsequent biochemical analysis of CAST has shown that CAST potentially form a large molecular complex with other CAZ proteins including RIMs, Munc13s, Bassoon, and Piccolo/Aczonin in nerve terminals. Furthermore, recent genetic approaches using animal models such as C. elegans, Drosophila and mice have revealed that CAST has important functional and organizational roles in the assembly and maintenance of the presynaptic active zone. In this update article, I would like to summarize recent findings that place CAST as a functional scaffold regulating voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels and maintaining the integrity of the presynaptic active zone.
    Neuroscience Research 03/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acoustic communication requires gathering, transforming, and interpreting diverse sound cues. To achieve this, all the spatial and temporal features of complex sound stimuli must be captured in the firing patterns of the primary sensory neurons and then accurately transmitted along auditory pathways for additional processing. The mammalian auditory system relies on several synapses with unique properties in order to meet this task: the auditory ribbon synapses, the endbulb of Held, and the calyx of Held. Each of these synapses develops morphological and electrophysiological characteristics that enable the remarkably precise signal transmission necessary for conveying the miniscule differences in timing that underly sound localization. In this article, we review the current knowledge of how these synapses develop and mature to acquire the specialized features necessary for the sense of hearing
    Hearing research 05/2014; · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Physical activity plays an important role in preventing chronic disease in adults and the elderly. Exercise has beneficial effects on the nervous system, including at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Exercise causes hypertrophy of NMJs and improves recovery from peripheral nerve injuries, whereas decreased physical activity causes degenerative changes in NMJs. Recent studies have begun to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of exercise. These mechanisms involve Bassoon, neuregulin-1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1α, Insulin-like growth factor-1, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin 4, Homer, and nuclear factor of activated T cells c1. For example, NMJ denervation and active zone decreases have been observed in aged NMJs, but these age-dependent degenerative changes can be ameliorated by exercise. This review will discuss the effects of exercise on the maintenance and regeneration of NMJs and will highlight recent insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying these exercise effects. Muscle Nerve , 2012.
    Muscle & Nerve 10/2013; · 2.31 Impact Factor

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