Learning and memory relies on the proper processing of signals that stimulate neuronal cells within the brain.
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, together with an international team of scientists, has uncovered an important role for the protein coronin 1 in cognition and behavior.
They found that a lack of coronin 1 in mouse and in man is associated with poor memory, defective learning and aggressive behavior. The results, recently published in PLOS Biology, identify a novel risk factor for neurobehavioral dysfunction and reveal a molecular pathway involved in transferring information within neurons.
Organisms must be able to sense signals from the outside and translate these into biochemical cues in order to adequately respond to their environment. This capability is also required to process information that reaches the brain. Within the brain, stimulation of neurons activates genes that are required, for example for learning and memory.
In collaboration with an international and interdisciplinary team the research group led by Prof. Jean Pieters from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has now uncovered the role of an evolutionarily conserved protein, called coronin 1, in providing a link between the extracellular stimulus and neuronal activation that ultimately results in efficient learning and memory in both mice and men.
From the immune system to the brain
In earlier work, Pieters’ team discovered the protein coronin 1 as being essential for the proper transduction of signals in immune cells. In mice lacking coronin 1 the researchers further investigated the molecular mechanism. Surprisingly, these mice showed aberrant behavior. In particular, mice lacking coronin 1 appeared to be far more aggressive and display extreme grooming activity, an indication of reduced sociability.
An in-depth analysis in collaboration with scientists from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and the University of Bordeaux unveiled profound learning and behavioral problems and severe defects in the ability to activate neurons in the absence of coronin 1.
Activation of a signaling cascade
But how does coronin 1 ensure proper neurobehavioral functioning? Normally, stimulation of the cell surface results in an activation of an intracellular cascade of reactions and ultimately stimulates the production of the signaling molecule cAMP which then activates a number of processes, including the transcription of gene involved in neurobehavior. “We found that in the absence of coronin 1, cell surface stimulation leads to a defective cAMP production”, explains Pieters. “This in turn affects the signal transduction which is finally responsible for the deficits in learning and memory formation.”
Of mice and men
Furthermore, the researchers analyzed the clinical history of a patient lacking coronin 1 due to a mutation: it turned out that this patient showed learning defects and aggressive behavior. With this study, Pieters and his project collaborators not only define a crucial role for coronin 1 in cognition and behavior, but also unravel a coronin 1-dependent signaling pathway that may be explored both for potential risk factors as well as future interventions to modulate neurobehavioral dysfunction.
Rajesh Jayachandran, Xiaolong Liu, Somdeb BoseDasgupta, Philipp Müller, Chun-Lei Zhang, Despina Moshous, Vera Studer, Jacques Schneider, Christel Genoud, Catherine Fassoud, Fréderic Gambino, Malik Khelfaoui, Christian Müller, Deborah Bartholdi, Helene Rossez, Michael Stiess, Xander Houbaert, Rolf Jaussi, Daniel Frey, Richard A. Kammerer, Xavier Deupi, Jean-Pierre de Villartay, Andreas Lüthi, Yann Humeau, and Jean Pieters
Coronin 1 Regulates Cognition and Behavior through Modulation of cAMP/Protein Kinase A Signaling
PLOS Biology, published March 25, 2014 | doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001820
Prof. Jean Pieters, University of Basel, Biozentrum, phone +41 61 267 14 94, email: email@example.com
Katrin Bühler | Universität Basel
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine