Neuroscience is the field of science focussed on understanding the structure and function of the nervous system. Spanning multiple disciplines, it encompasses not only neuronal development and anatomy, but also the molecular, cellular and functional processes that underlie both health and disease. Researchers engaged in the study of neuroscience frequently rely on antibodies to identify specific neuronal cells or bind biomolecules involved in neuronal signalling pathways.
Techniques such as Western blot, ICC, flow cytometry, ELISA and IHC have all been used extensively to characterise key neuronal targets, not only supporting the investigation of neuronal physiology but also providing insight to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis (MS). We offer a broad portfolio of reagents to support neuroscience research, including high-quality antibodies raised against the following targets:
Myelin Basic Protein
Myelin Basic Protein (MBP) is a key component of the myelin sheath that wraps around neuronal axons, where it performs an insulating function to increase the speed of signal transmission. Its release into systemic circulation is a hallmark of demyelinating diseases such as MS, that are characterised by reduced nerve conduction.
Nestin is a class VI intermediate filament protein that has been widely used as a marker for neuronal stem cells. It interacts with cytoskeletal microfilaments and microtubules, suggesting an important role in cellular remodelling, and has been linked to various tumours of the brain and central nervous system.
NeuN / Fox3
NeuN has been used as a nuclear marker of mature neurons for almost 30 years, yet it was only in 2009 that it was discovered to in fact be FOX3, the product of the RBFOX3 gene. FOX3 is a key member of the RNA-binding FOX protein family, functioning as an mRNA splicing regulator. Mutations in RBFOX3 have been associated with numerous neurological disorders.
Beta-tubulin III is a member of the beta tubulin family that is specifically localised to neurons. Here it functions as a structural component of microtubules, allowing it to support many essential cellular processes. Mutations in the TUBB3 gene encoding beta-tubulin III have been linked to defects in axon guidance, neuronal migration and differentiation.
TDP-43, encoded by the TARDBP gene, regulates mRNA splicing, a function that is dysregulated in many neurodegenerative disorders. Recently, TDP-43 inclusions have been observed to outweigh the burden of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in post-mortem brain samples of patients with limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE), a condition predicted to account for around 20% of clinical Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses.
Axonal / Dendritic markers
Axons and dendrites are cellular protrusions that extend from neurons. While axons conduct electrical impulses away from the cell body, dendrites receive signals that instruct neuronal behaviours. Axonal/dendritic markers such as neurofascin and ankyrin-G are widely used to characterise neuronal projections and study neuronal polarity.
Neuronal / Glial markers
Glial cells are often considered the supporting cells of the nervous system, surrounding the neurons to hold them in position, supply them with oxygen and nutrients, and insulate them from one other. Tyrosine hydroxylase is often used as a neuronal marker, while GFAP provides identification of glial cells.
Synapses are the junctions within the nervous system at which neurons communicate with one another. This is achieved through the release of neurotransmitters to provide signal transmission. Several different forms of synapse exist and can be identified using specific markers, for instance both VGLUT and PSD-95 are found at glutamatergic synapses.
Signal transmission relies on neurotransmitter receptors such as NMDA, GABA and glutamate receptors. Each of these binds a specific neurotransmitter to result in either triggering or inhibition of neuronal signalling.