Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Incorrectly cleaved protein leads to schizophrenia

15.07.2008
Schizophrenia is a disease that strikes an average of 4000 Belgians every year. The causes of this psychiatric disorder are not yet clear.

But now, VIB researchers connected to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven have discovered that a disturbed cleavage of the Nrg-1 protein lies at the basis of the development of the disease. Greater understanding of this molecular process is a first step toward improved diagnosis and more effective treatment of schizophrenia and other related disorders.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that appears in about 1 out of every 250 Belgians, manifesting most often between the ages of 15 and 30. This disease of the brain seriously disturbs the person’s thinking, emotional life, and behavior. The disease is characterized by episodes of psychotic symptoms: abnormal ideas and changes in perception, behavior and thinking occur, through which it is difficult to understand how the person feels. Typical symptoms of the disorder are: delusions, hallucinations, chaotic behavior, etc.

... more about:
»Development »Molecular »Nrg-1 »schizophrenia

The origin of the disease…

Up to now, no clear cause of schizophrenia has been found, although hereditary factors certainly play a role in the development of the disease. In addition, living and working conditions determine the disorder’s progress. Research into schizophrenia has also shown that there is a disturbance of the activity of the frontal and temporal areas in the brain, which is connected with a disturbed equilibrium among the substances (proteins) that are needed for neuronal functioning. Schizophrenia is treated using anti-psychotic and neuroleptic medicines.

Research leads to new insights into the molecular causes

The molecular story hidden behind schizophrenia is still not at all clear. However, previous scientific studies have indeed shown that a disturbed functioning of the Nrg-1 protein is linked to the development of the disease. Now, the recent research results obtained by Tim Dejaegere and his colleagues connected to VIB and K.U.Leuven reveal how the functioning of Nrg-1 becomes disturbed.

The Nrg-1 protein - an essential factor in the development and proper functioning of our nervous system and, consequently, in the functioning of our brain - can carry out its function properly only after it has been cleaved in the right way. This cleavage is the responsibility of a molecular ‘scissors’ called Aph1B/C-gamma-secretase. When this scissors is absent, Nrg-1 is not cleaved, which leads to behavioral disturbances in laboratory animals that bear a striking similarity to some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. This syndrome can be corrected by administering anti-psychotic medicines. Additional studies have also shown that a genetic alteration near the site of Nrg-1 cleavage, which was detected in schizophrenia patients and which increases the risk of this disease, results in incorrect cleavage of Nrg-1 by the gamma-secretase.

The researchers are suggesting that a disturbed cleavage of Nrg-1 plays a crucial role in the development of schizophrenia and other related psychiatric disorders. This discovery is a new step forward in the quest for improved diagnosis and targeted treatment of the disease.

Joke Comijn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

Further reports about: Development Molecular Nrg-1 schizophrenia

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>