News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
1. Camphor's TRP
Haoxing Xu, Nathaniel T. Blair, and David E. Clapham
Camphor, an age-old component of home remedies, is a plant derivative that acts as a topical anesthetic. This week, Xu et al. explored the mechanism of action of camphor by examining its effects on members of the large and complex transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family. In heterologous cells, camphor activated the capsaicin-sensitive channel TRP vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1). Camphor-activated TRPV1-like currents were also found in dorsal root ganglion neurons.
2. CaMKII and Dendritic Filopodia in Drosophila
Ryan Andersen, Yimei Li, Mary Resseguie, and Jay E. Brenman
Filopodia are the small protrusions that make time-lapse movies of dendrites worth watching. They serve as precursors to dendritic spines and pioneer the development of dendritic arbors. This week, Andersen et al. examine the effects of cytoskeletal regulatory molecules on filopodial plasticity in Drosophila larvae. They focused on dendritic arborization (da) peripheral neurons. Expression of a constitutively active mutant form of calcium/ calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), T287D, increased the number of filopodia on da dendrites and increased actin turnover. The results suggest different pathways for the actions of CaMKII and Rac1 on dendritic filopodia.
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