Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fly eyes help researchers 'see' new proteins involved in memory

26.08.2009
Research report in the journal Genetics identifies new proteins involved in memory, and provides new insight into fragile X mental retardation

With more than 1,500 eyes, not much escapes the fruit fly's sight. Now, a new research report in the journal GENETICS, describes how researchers from the United States and Ireland used those eyes to "see" new proteins necessary for memory. In addition to shedding light on this critical neurological process, the study also provides information on a form of mental retardation in humans.

"Understanding translational control mechanisms in the brain teaches us how the brain learns and adapts, and will inform the design of treatments for specific types of neurologic disease," said Dr. Anne-Marie Cziko, at the University of Arizona and co-author of the study.

Specifically, the scientists found that the "fragile X mental retardation protein," which plays a crucial role in the cellular processes involved in learning and memory, needs five other proteins to function normally. The scientists identified these proteins using an artificial system of increasing fragile X mental retardation protein in the eyes of fruit flies. Its high level leads to visible deformities in a fly's eyes. To test the requirement of various candidate proteins for function of the fragile X mental retardation protein, the researchers genetically modified the flies to prevent them from making each candidate protein. They found that loss of any one of the five proteins caused the fruit fly's eye to be significantly less deformed, revealing that each is required for function of the fragile X mental retardation protein.

Because previous work suggested that the fragile X protein regulates gene expression via an important group of small RNAs called "microRNAs," the scientists tested whether the proteins they identified were required for a specific microRNA named "bantam" to function in fruit flies. The researchers performed these experiments by removing copies of the identified proteins from the fly. Instead of looking at the flies' eyes, the researchers looked inside the flies using a fluorescent protein that indicates how well bantam is functioning. The investigators were surprised to find that none of the five proteins identified in the study had an effect on bantam. Even more surprisingly, neither did the fragile X mental retardation protein.

This finding and the identification of the five new proteins that interact with the fragile X mental retardation protein give new insight into additional and alternative functions of fragile X mental retardation protein. They also indicate the need for more study into the fragile X mental retardation protein's function itself.

"Any college student on the eve of final exams will tell you that truly understanding—and possibly manipulating—how our brains store information is the 'Holy Grail' of neurological research," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS. "Although college students are advised to continue hitting the books, this area of research holds tremendous promise for millions or people with neurological diseases and disabilities, as well as for those with learning disorders."

Details: Anne-Marie J. Cziko, Cathal T. McCann, Iris C. Howlett, Scott A. Barbee, Rebecca P. Duncan, Rene Luedemann, Daniela Zarnescu, Konrad E. Zinsmaier, Roy R. Parker, and Mani Ramaswami
Genetic Modifiers of dFMR1 Encode RNA Granule Components in Drosophila
GENETICS 2009 182: 1051�: http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/abstract/182/4/1051

Since 1916, GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org) has covered high quality, original research on a range of topics bearing on inheritance, including population and evolutionary genetics, complex traits, developmental and behavioral genetics, cellular genetics, gene expression, genome integrity and transmission, and genome and systems biology. GENETICS, the peer-reviewed, peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America is one of the world's most cited journals in genetics and heredity.

Tracey DePellegrin Connelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cmu.edu
http://www.genetics.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>