Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research at the University of Haifa identified a protein essential in long term memory consolidation

11.09.2008
New research at the University of Haifa identified a specific protein essential for the process of long term memory consolidation.

This is the latest of several discoveries that are leading us towards a better understanding of one of the most complex processes in nature – the process of memory creation and consolidation in the human brain. This latest research was published recently in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience.

The human brain constantly receives sensory stimuli from the outside world: sounds, tastes, visuals, touch and smells. A very small fraction of these stimuli which are recorded in short term memory actually become part of our long term memory. Previous studies in the laboratory for "Molecular Mechanisms of Learning and Memory" at the University of Haifa identified a protein linked to the quality of long term memories. In the current study, the researchers were looking to understand how long term memories are stabilized.

The research team led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum, Head of the Department of Neurobiology and Ethology at the University of Haifa, and PhD student Alina Elkobi together with Drs. Katya Belelovsky and Liza Barki and in cooperation with Dr. Ingrid Ehrlich from the Friedrich Miescher Institute at the University of Basel, Switzerland, searched for a protein which is present during the process of memory formation and is actually an essential factor in the process.

Using taste learning in mice, the researchers found learning-related induction of the protein PSD-95 in the brain cortex "taste center" during the process of memory creation. However, when the mice were exposed to known tastes, PSD-95 was not induced in this center of the brain cortex.

In order to prove that PSD-95 is essential for the process of memory creation, the researchers used two different groups of mice who had undergone the same tests for taste learning. Using genetic engineering, the researchers halted the process of PSD-95 production in the nerve cells of the "taste center" in the cortex. The group whose PSD-95 production was stopped had no memory of new tastes the day after being introduced to them while the other group remembered the tastes – demonstrating that a new memory was created when PSD-95 was induced and that the information disappeared from the brain when the protein was not induced.

The study further examined the effect of PSD-95 production on existing memories. Mice that had already been introduced to and remembered certain tastes were genetically engineered to stop producing the protein and they still remembered the tastes – demonstrating that while PSD-95 induction is essential for memory creation, its absence does not affect memory retention.

"The process of long term memory creation in the human brain is one of the incredible processes which is so clearly different than "artificial brains" like those in a computer. While an "artificial brain" absorbs information and immediately saves it in its memory, the human brain continues to process information long after it is received, and the quality of memories depends on how the information is processed. One of the first processes to be affected in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's is that of memory acquisition and processing.

In this research we identified one specific protein, among the many proteins active in brain synapses, whose production is essential for the brain to process and remember information it receives. The more we understand about the processes and elements involved in this complicated process, the sooner we will be able to develop medications which will delay the progression of cognitive degenerative diseases and enable patients to continue normative functioning," explains Prof. Rosenblum.

Laurie Groner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.haifa.ac.il

Further reports about: Brain PSD-95 Protein consolidation human brain memory creation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>