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:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & ... Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border ... generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... a leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging industry.  As such, ... to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160524/371420 ... ... ... With ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC ... today announced the opening of an IoT Center of ... strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris biometric ... unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric ... one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, ... at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ... closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on ... ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these stocks ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of ... space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life ... many early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016 Cell Applications, Inc. and ... to produce up to one billion human induced ... one week. These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable ... and spend more time doing meaningful, relevant research. ... high-volume manufacturing process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC ...
Breaking Biology Technology: