Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) belongs to a group of molecules that on the basis of earlier studies has been proposed to be a controlling factor for learning and memory. The ETH researchers produced genetically modified mice in which the activity of PP1 can be reduced at will. These animals were subjected to various learning and memory tests in one of which, the mice had to learn about various objects in a box. For this, they were trained on different schedules: without any interruption during learning or with short or long interruptions. To study how well the mice could remember the objects after learning, they were placed back into the box and one of the objects had been replaced with a novel object. If the animals explored the novel object significantly longer than the others, this was an indication that the mice remembered the familiar objects.
Protein Phosphatase 1 Makes Learning More Difficult
The tests showed that the mice with reduced PP1 and with short interruptions in the learning process achieved optimal performance that could be reached by control animals only with long interruptions. Isabelle Mansuy’s interpretation of these results is that “PP1 represents a necessary controlling factor, that is required to avoid saturation of the brain. Because the capacity of the brain is limited, it needs an active protective system”.
Prof. Isabelle Mansuy | alfa
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