A protein that seems to be pivotal in lifting depression has been discovered by a Nobel Laureate researcher funded by the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
"Mice deficient in this protein, called p11, display depression-like behaviors, while those with sufficient amounts behave as if they have been treated with antidepressants," explained Paul Greengard, Ph.D., a Rockefeller University neuroscientist who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries about the workings of such neuronal signaling systems. He and his colleagues found that p11 appears to help regulate signaling of the brain messenger chemical serotonin, a key target of antidepressants, which has been implicated in psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders. They report on their findings in the January 6, 2005 issue of Science.
Brain cells communicate with each other by secreting messengers, such as serotonin, which bind to receptors located on the surface of receiving cells. Serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), medications commonly prescribed for anxiety and depression, compensate for reduction in serotonin signaling by boosting levels and binding of serotonin to receptors. Previous studies have suggested that serotonin receptors are essential in regulating moods and in mediating the effects of SSRIs, but given the complexity of the serotonin system, exactly how these receptors work remains a mystery.
Latifa Boyce | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
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