Vanessa Auld, head of Zoology at UBC has published the lead article in the April 22 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.
An image of glial cells, the key to the development and maintenance of the nervous system, and focus of “Basigin Associates with Integrin in Order to Regulate Perineurial Glia and Drosophila Nervous System Morphology,” adorns the cover of the journal.
A specific class of glia, called the perineurial glia, cover each peripheral nerve in many animals from insects to mammals. How these glia interact with an overlaying matrix of supporting proteins outside of the cell (called the extracellular matrix) is critical to the structure of the peripheral nerve.
“We have found that loss of the conserved membrane protein Basigin changes how the perineurial glia interact with the extracellular matrix leading to crumpling of the nerve, breaking of the cytoskeleton of the protective glial cells and disruption of nervous system function,” says Dr. Auld.