The details of memory formation are still largely unknown. It has, however, been established that the two kinds of memory – long term and short term – use different mechanisms. When short-term memory is formed, certain proteins in the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain are transiently modified.
To find out how these molecules might function in long-term memory, Sebastian Krüttner, a doctoral student with Krystyna Keleman at the IMP, devoted the past five years to this question. He identified two very similar CPEB proteins in flies, Orb2A and Orb2B, as the key molecules. While both isoforms are required for the formation of long-term memory, they function by distinct mechanisms in this process.
After conducting a large number of genetic, biochemical and behavioral experiments, the IMP scientists now propose the following model for long-term memory formation: a learning experience – as in the courtship conditioning procedure – leads to the activation of Orb2A in certain synapses only. In these synapses, Orb2A recruits Orb2B into complexes, which in turn alter protein synthesis locally only in these activated synapses, thereby forming stable memories.This model, which is described in the current issue of the journal Neuron, is somewhat unconventional. The fact that two very similar molecules have such different functions was unexpected. Even more surprising is the role of Orb2A, which does not require its protein binding domain – a region previously thought to be essential for CPEB proteins.
Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl | idw
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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