Navigation Links
Newly discovered 'switch' plays dual role in memory formation
Date:8/13/2013

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have uncovered a protein switch that can either increase or decrease memory-building activity in brain cells, depending on the signals it detects. Its dual role means the protein is key to understanding the complex network of signals that shapes our brain's circuitry, the researchers say. A description of their discovery appears in the July 31 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"What's interesting about this protein, AGAP3, is that it is effectively double-sided: One side beefs up synapses in response to brain activity, while the other side helps bring synapse-building back down to the brain's resting state," says Rick Huganir, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins. "The fact that it links these two opposing activities indicates AGAP3 may turn out to be central to controlling the strength of synapses."

Huganir has long studied how connections between brain cells, known as synapses, are strengthened and weakened to form or erase memories. The new discovery came about when he and postdoctoral fellow Yuko Oku, Ph.D., investigated the chain reaction of signals involved in one type of synaptic strengthening.

In a study of the proteins that interact with one of the known proteins from that chain reaction, the previously unknown AGAP3 turned up. It contained not only a site designed to bind another protein involved in the chain reaction that leads from brain stimulation to learning, but also a second site involved in bringing synapse-building activity down to normal levels after a burst of activity. Although it might seem the two different functions are behaving at cross-purposes, Oku says, it also could be that nature's bundling of these functions together in a single protein is an elegant way of enabling learning and memory while preventing dangerous overstimulation. More research is needed, Oku says, to figure out whether AGAP3's two sites coordinate by affecting each other's activity, or are effectively free agents.


'/>"/>

Contact: Shawna Williams
shawna@jhmi.edu
410-955-8236
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Newly discovered bacterial partnership changes ocean chemistry
2. ACLS Online Renewal Course from United Medical Education Now Features Newly-Updated Course Materials
3. Newly identified bone marrow stem cells reveal markers for ALS
4. Newly developed medium may be useful for human health, biofuel production, more
5. A newly discovered hormone makes ovaries grow
6. Newly described type of immune cell and T cells share similar path to maturity
7. FRAX newly released as version 3.8 -- Over 5 million online calculations since June 2011
8. Marriage can threaten health: Study finds satisfied newlyweds more likely to gain weight
9. Soils in newly forested areas store substantial carbon that could help offset climate change
10. Logging debris gives newly planted Douglas-fir forests a leg-up
11. Newly identified natural protein blocks HIV, other deadly viruses
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/15/2017)... , Aug. 15 2017   ivWatch LLC , a ... intravenous (IV) therapy, today announced receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, ... by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO®). ... ivWatch Model 400 Continuous Monitoring device for the early ... "This is an ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation ... officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first 30 ... and the USA . The technology was developed and ... by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro ... Release, please click: ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... April 19, 2017 The global ... landscape is marked by the presence of several large ... held by five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC ... accounted for nearly 61% of the global military biometric ... in the global military biometrics market boast global presence, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At its ... announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of ... been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit ... 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current ... several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017  SkylineDx ... London (ICR) and University of Leeds ... to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in a multi-centric ... The University of Leeds is the ... UK, and ICR will perform the testing services to include ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and ... of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular ...
Breaking Biology Technology: