The origin and evolution of synaptic proteins - choanoflagellates lead the way.

Burkhardt, P. 2015 The origin and evolution of synaptic proteins - choanoflagellates lead the way.. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 218 (Pt 4). 506-14.

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Abstract/Summary

The origin of neurons was a key event in evolution, allowing metazoans to evolve rapid behavioral responses to environmental cues. Reconstructing the origin of synaptic proteins promises to reveal their ancestral functions and might shed light on the evolution of the first neuron-like cells in metazoans. By analyzing the genomes of diverse metazoans and their closest relatives, the evolutionary history of diverse presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins has been reconstructed. These analyses revealed that choanoflagellates, the closest relatives of metazoans, possess diverse synaptic protein homologs. Recent studies have now begun to investigate their ancestral functions. A primordial neurosecretory apparatus in choanoflagellates was identified and it was found that the mechanism, by which presynaptic proteins required for secretion of neurotransmitters interact, is conserved in choanoflagellates and metazoans. Moreover, studies on the postsynaptic protein homolog Homer revealed unexpected localization patterns in choanoflagellates and new binding partners, both which are conserved in metazoans. These findings demonstrate that the study of choanoflagellates can uncover ancient and previously undescribed functions of synaptic proteins.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Other (MBA)
Depositing User: Dr Pawel Burkhardt
Date made live: 10 Sep 2015 09:44
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:14
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6556

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