The goal of the proposed research is to develop and apply analytical methods in extremely small environments to probe specific mechanisms that regulate and modulate exocytosis. A key aspect of this work will be to use amperometric measurements simultaneously with fluorescence imaging to test the hypothesis that control of calcium homeostasis and exocytosis are part of the mechanism by which estrogen is neuroprotective, to use small-volume separations to determine the extent to which the vesicle contents are released during an exocytosis event, and to use amperometric experiments and confocal fluorescence imaging to examine a new and potentially controversial hypothesis that lipid nanotubes play a role in regulating vesicle state and release. This work will be done with pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells in culture. Thus, the experiments proposed here are targeted at understanding exocytosis at the molecular level and understanding how cells are """"""""wired"""""""" in a way that might be more general in cell biology.
The specific aims of the proposal are: 1) to use amperometry and calcium imaging to examine the neuroprotective effects of estrogen by measuring catecholamine release and calcium entry; 2) to develop electrophoresis with electrochemical detection in small capillaries to determine the level of neuromessenger in vesicles and by comparison to amperometric measurements at cells to determine the fraction released during exocytosis; 3) to identify lipid nanotube structures in cells by fluorescence and to investigate the mechanism of membrane trafficking to and from vesicles; and 4) to use electrochemistry and fluorescence to examine and develop models of transmitter release via the fusion pore prior to full exocytosis and an alternative hypothesis for """"""""kiss and run"""""""" release. This proposal captures the work that we envision as necessary to truly understand the function of vesicles and exocytosis in neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. The highly preliminary data we have obtained suggest that lipid nanotubes exist connecting vesicles to other structures, perhaps each other. If this is correct, it represents a new idea in cell biology and could be incredibly important. Overall, the use of amperometry, fluorescence and separations is proposed to investigate cellular chemistry and new ideas in cell biology related to neuronal communication. ? ? ?
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