Towards a dynamic quantitative understanding of how microglia keep the brain clean
Francesca Peri European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany
Most aspects of brain development, function and repair are not mediated by neurons alone but emerge from their interactions with other cell types. Of particular interest are microglia, the brain resident macrophages that can shape neuronal connectivity by removing dying neurons and synapses. By taking an in vivo approach that combines quantitative live imaging and cutting-edge perturbations in zebrafish, we have defined how microglia remove neurons at single-cell resolution and we have developed tools to visualize and manipulate the signals that control these activities.
Recently, we became interested in how microglia after engulfment can digest and recycle neurons, a process that remains poorly understood. By using a combination of genetics and live microscopy we tracked phagosomes in microglia and identified a packing mechanism that allows the efficient elimination and recycling of neurons by microglia. Finally, we show how interfering with this process strongly affects microglial behavior and functionality.
Credits: None available.
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