Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCI-Scripps study links cellular motors to memory

26.08.2010
Findings add new dimension to how memories are encoded, suggest new therapeutic targets

Functioning much like gears in a machine, cellular motor proteins are critical to dynamic functions throughout the body, including muscle contraction, cell migration and cellular growth processes. Now, neuroscientists from UC Irvine and the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute report that motor proteins also play a critical role in the stabilization of long-term memories. The findings add an unexpected dimension to the story of how memories are encoded and suggest new targets for therapeutic interventions.

UCI's Christopher Rex and Gavin Rumbaugh at Scripps found that myosin II proteins, more commonly studied in muscle contraction and cell migration, are critical for functional brain plasticity and learning. The work builds on a fundamental theory of memory – posed over 25 years ago by UCI neuroscientist Gary Lynch – that memories are the product of structural rearrangements of synapses in the brain.

"We suspected that motor proteins are involved in synaptic plasticity," said Rumbaugh, an assistant professor of neuroscience. "Now that we know that they are, we can begin to investigate how the vast literature on motor proteins from other cell types may generalize to neurons."

Study results appear in the Aug.26 issue of Neuron.

Myosin II motors are one of the most studied protein complexes in the human body. They are best known for interacting with actin filaments to control initiate forces within cellular compartments.

"Cells are constructed like buildings," said Rex, a Kauffman Foundation Fellow in anatomy & neurobiology. "Actin can be thought of as the building's frame, meaning it determines the scale and design of the structure. Myosin II would then be like a crane moving the beams into place. The main difference being that myosin II is poised to both tear down and rebuild the structure with a completely different design at any minute."

A core tenant of contemporary theory is that the sizes and shapes of dendritic spines, small protrusions at the receiving end of chemical transmission at synapses, are critical for determining synaptic strength.

"We know that appropriate patterns of neuronal activity can cause structural changes to these elements spines, now our major focus is to understand how this works," said Lynch, who contributed to the study.

Having discovered that a submicroscopic motor drives synaptic reorganization, the UCI and Scripps research groups believe they are substantially closer to understanding how to selectively enhance memory formation, and thereby treat the memory problems associated with aging, post-traumatic stress, mental retardation and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Christine Gall, Eniko Kramar, Lulu Chen and Yousheng Jia of UCI; Cristin Gavin and Courtney Miller of Scripps; Maria Rubio of the University of Alabama, Birmingham; Richard Huganir of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Nicholas Muzyczka of the University of Florida contributed to this work, which received support from the National Institutes of Health; the University of Alabama, Birmingham; the McKnight Brain Institute; Alabama Health Sciences Foundation; and the Kauffman Foundation.

Tom Vasich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | 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: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

27.02.2017 | Information Technology

Fraunhofer IFAM expands its R&D work on Coatings for protection against corrosion and marine growth

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>