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Incorrectly cleaved protein leads to schizophrenia
Date:7/14/2008

t research results obtained by Tim Dejaegere and his colleagues connected to VIB and K.U.Leuven reveal how the functioning of Nrg-1 becomes disturbed.

The Nrg-1 protein − an essential factor in the development and proper functioning of our nervous system and, consequently, in the functioning of our brain − can carry out its function properly only after it has been cleaved in the right way. This cleavage is the responsibility of a molecular 'scissors' called Aph1B/C-gamma-secretase. When this scissors is absent, Nrg-1 is not cleaved, which leads to behavioral disturbances in laboratory animals that bear a striking similarity to some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. This syndrome can be corrected by administering anti-psychotic medicines. Additional studies have also shown that a genetic alteration near the site of Nrg-1 cleavage, which was detected in schizophrenia patients and which increases the risk of this disease, results in incorrect cleavage of Nrg-1 by the gamma-secretase.

The researchers are suggesting that a disturbed cleavage of Nrg-1 plays a crucial role in the development of schizophrenia and other related psychiatric disorders. This discovery is a new step forward in the quest for improved diagnosis and targeted treatment of the disease.


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Contact: Joke Comijn
info@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

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