Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Montreal Neurological Institute Researcher First to Discover That Normal Nerve Cells Can Mimic Viruses

20.02.2003


Montreal Neurological Institute researcher Dr. Wayne Sossin has discovered that nerve cells can bypass the cell’s normal protein-making machinery in the same way that viruses do when they infect a cell. In a study published on-line today in Nature Neuroscience, Dr. Sossin and colleagues describe the first example of regulated IRES (internal ribosome entry site) usage after a physiological stimulus in neurons.

When a virus infects a cell, its goal is to make more virus particles. To do this, a virus takes over the cell’s protein making machinery (the ribosome), so that the cell essentially becomes a viral protein factory. It does this by using an internal ribosome entry site (IRES); which shuts down and bypasses the normal mechanisms that regulate binding of messenger RNAs to ribosomes. While many viral messenger RNAs are known to possess an IRES, few normal cellular RNAs do. Abnormal IRES regulation has been correlated with two human diseases- multiple myeloma and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. This is the first time that scientists have demonstrated that normal nerve cells can use an IRES to produce large quantities of protein under physiological conditions.

Dr. Sossin and colleagues made their discovery in a study of egg laying in the sea slug Aplysia. During egg laying, protein production of the egg laying hormone (ELH) increases dramatically. Sossin and colleagues discovered that the ELH messenger RNA contains an IRES. They demonstrated that after egg laying, nerve cells producing ELH switch from the normal cellular mechanism of protein production to one that uses the IRES. This switch allows for massive amounts of ELH protein to be produced at the expense of other cellular proteins, mimicking what a virus does when it infects a host cell.



“Egg laying is an important investment for an animal, thus when stimulated to do so, it wants to get it right,” explained Dr. Sossin. “In order to do this, the cell must make a lot of ELH protein in a short period of time to signal the release of eggs. One way to do this is to temporarily stop making other proteins and concentrate on making one particular protein – in this instance, the ELH.”

“The new discovery of Dr. Sossin reveals an unexpected regulatory role of the IRES in nerve cells. This finding could have important implications for understanding the learning and memory processes in the brain” explained Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, Department of Biochemistry at McGill University, who first discovered the IRES in poliovirus in 1988. Other non-pathological uses of IRES regulated protein production could include production of hormones or growth factors.

Dr. Sossin’s paper, An Activity-dependent switch to cap-independent translation triggered by eIF4E dephosphorylation, can be viewed on-line at Nature Neurscience.

Dr. Wayne Sossin, a scientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. Dr. Sossin obtained his S.B. (Biology) and S.B. (Computer Science) in 1984 from MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in 1989 at Stanford University and conducted his Postdoctoral research at Columbia University. Dr. Sossin’s research has led to several fundamental principles of protein processing and packaging in neurons. He is the author of more than 40 scientific publications.



The Montreal Neurological Institute (www.mni.mcgill.ca) is a McGill University (www.mcgill.ca) research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Since its founding in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI has helped put Canada on the international map. It is one of the world’s largest institutes of its kind; MNI researchers are world leaders in biotechnology, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders.



For further information or to interview Dr. Sossin, please contact:
Sandra McPherson
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University Street
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4

Tel: (514) 398-1902
Fax: (514) 398-8072
Email: sandra.mcpherson@mcgill.ca

Sandra McPherson | McGill University
Further information:
http://www.mni.mcgill.ca/announce/sossin_e.htm
http://www.mni.mcgill.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>