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Key protein, FABP5, enhances memory and learning
Date:5/2/2014

ciated genes," Noy said.

Even though endocannabinoids affect essential physiological processes from appetite to memory, the "cannabinoid" part of the word signifies that these natural biological compounds act similarly to drugs such as marijuana and hashish. Too much endocannabinoid can lead to impaired learning and memory.

In simple terms, FABP5 transports endocannabinoids for processing. FABP5 functions like a bus and carries the brain's endocannabinoids and their biological products to two stations within the neuron cell. FABP5 captures endocannabinoids entering the neuron and delivers them to an enzyme that degrades them (station 1). Then, that degraded product is picked up by the same protein (FABP5) and shuttled to the cell nucleus specifically, to a transcription factor within it (station 2). Binding of the degraded product activates the transcription factor and allows it to induce expression of multiple genes. The genes that are induced in this case tell the cells to take steps that promote learning and memory.

Noy and associates also compared memory and learning in FABP5-deficient mice and in normal ones. In one test, both sets of mice repeatedly swam in mazes that had a platform in one established location where they could climb out of the water. During subsequent swims, the wild-type mice reached the platform quickly because they had learned and remembered its location. Their FABP5-deficient counterparts took much longer, typically finding the platform's location by chance.

"In addition to regulating cell growth as in skin and in cancer cells, for example, FABP5 also plays a key role in neurons of the brain," Noy said. "FABP5 controls the biological actions of small compounds that affect memory and learning and that activate a transcription factor, which regulates neuronal function."


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Contact: Jeannette Spalding
jxs1243@case.edu
216-368-3004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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