Astrocytes, small star-shaped cells, play an important role in signal transmission in the brain. Since the protein Ezrin is found abundantly in astrocyte tendrils, it is presumed to play a role in brain function. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, have conducted in vivo studies on the function and role of Ezrin in brain development and the adult brain. While a lack of Ezrin has little effect on development, it does alter signal processing and the shape of astrocytes. These effects appear to effectively mitigate the toxicity of neurotransmitters, particularly glutamate, and thus protect mice from stress (e.g., stroke).