Vol 5-3 Mini Review

Microtubule Electrical Oscillations and Hippocampal Function

Maria del Rocio Cantero, Horacio F. Cantiello

Laboratorio de Canales Iónicos, Instituto Multidisciplinario de Salud, Tecnología y Desarrollo (IMSaTeD, CONICET-UNSE) Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Microtubules (MTs) are long cylindrical structures of the cytoskeleton that control cell division, vesicular transport, and the shape of cells. MTs are highly charged and behave as nonlinear electrical transmission lines. However, comparatively little is known about the role(s) these nonlinear electrical properties of MTs play in cell function. MTs form bundles, which are particularly prominent in neurons, where they help developmentally define axons and dendrites. The present review summarizes recent work from our laboratory which demonstrated that 1) bundles of rat brain MTs spontaneously generate electrical oscillations and bursts of electrical activity similar to action potentials; 2) actin filaments control electrostatically the oscillatory response of brain MTs; and 3) neurites of cultured mouse hippocampal neurons generate and propagate electrical oscillations thus, providing a cellular correlate to the isolated MT oscillations. Electrical oscillations are an intrinsic property of brain MT bundles, which may have important implications in the control of various neuronal functions, including a contribution to the intrinsic oscillatory modes of neurons, and thus to higher brain functions, including the formation of memory and the onset of consciousness.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2020/3.1267 View / Download Pdf