Navigation Links
Revealing the regulating mechanism behind signal transduction in the brain
Date:9/19/2008

Leuven, Belgium Our brain consists of billions of cells that continually transmit signals to each other. This dynamic process − which enables us to learn, remember, and so much more − works only when the brain cells make contact correctly, or, in other words, when there is a good 'synapse'. An essential element in this process is a controlled protein production along with the synapse. VIB researchers connected to the Center for Human Genetics (K.U.Leuven) are now discovering how the Fragile X protein (FMRP) ensures that protein production is controlled at synapse and regulated by brain activity. Their findings are being published in the authoritative scientific journal Cell.

Fathoming the brain

Our 'gray matter' has yet to divulge all its secrets. For example, we do not yet fully understand how we are able to learn and remember things. We do know that dendrites and axons − the offshoots of brain cells − play a crucial role by making contact with each other in so-called synapses, through which signals are transmitted between different brain cells. Moreover, for properly functioning brain activity at a synapse, the right proteins must be present in the right concentrations. It has been known for some time that the brain's cells are able to produce proteins directly at the place where they are needed. But exactly how the subtle regulation of this process works is still to be discovered.

FMRP: controlling protein production

Claudia Bagni (VIB, K.U.Leuven, University of Rome Tor Vergata) has been studying the FMRP protein for years now. The absence of FMRP leads to the Fragile X syndrome, a mental handicap afflicting a thousand Belgians. In this particular syndrome, the synapses are not well-formed. So, it is no surprise that FMRP plays an important role in the development and functioning of the brain. The researchers have already shown that FMRP suppresses protein production, but how has remained a mystery.

A shared job with CYFIP1

Ilaria Napoli and her colleagues from Claudia Bagni's group are now discovering that FMRP cannot perform its job without another protein: CYFIP1. In a previous study, Claudia Bagni and her collaborators have shown that a reduced amount of FMRP in the brain increases the production of some neuronal proteins. The VIB researchers in Leuven have now elucidated the mechanism behind this. They have found that complexes of FMRP and CYFIP1 are located at the synapses and together suppress the local production of a number of proteins.

In the transduction of signals between brain cells, i.e. synaptic activation, CYFIP1 is released from the complex, whereby FMRP can no longer exercise its suppressing action. This is the impetus for the production of the proteins that are under the control of FMRP.

A change in the concentration of FMRP or CYFIP1 causes a disruption in this strict regulation of protein production. This, in its turn, causes diseases like Fragile X syndrome and Autism. Indeed, CYFIP1 has been recently found associated to Autism.

Importance of this research

With their research, Napoli and Bagni are shedding a bit more light on synapses in the brain − giving us more insight into learning and remembering, and also into a number of 'brain disorders'. We now understand that, through its absence, FMRP plays a role in diseases like Fragile X syndrome and Autism.


'/>"/>

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

Related biology technology :

1. Human Trial Results Show Plant Extract Tops Drug at Regulating Blood Sugar Levels; Huge Market Seen for Newly Developed Food Additive Emulin™
2. Gladstone scientists uncover potential mechanism of memory loss in Alzheimers disease
3. Cleveland Clinic-Led Research Uncovers New Mechanism That Heightens Risk of Heart Disease
4. Mechanism for the in-vivo transport of siRNA
5. Agendia Acquires Rights to the Discovery of a Major Drug Resistance Mechanism in Breast Cancer Potentially Leading to a Herceptin(R) Sensitivity Test
6. FDA Approves New Mechanism of Action Labeling for Ranexa(R)
7. Growing old together: Yeast, worms and people may age by similar mechanisms
8. Real-time observation of the DNA-repair mechanism
9. ImQuest Awarded SBIR Grant to Define the Mechanism of Action of Their Lead Anti-HIV Therapeutic Compound IQP-0410
10. Study reveals principles behind stability and electronic properties of gold nanoclusters
11. Scientists peel away the mystery behind golds catalytic prowess
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Liquid Biotech USA , ... Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ... cancer patients.  The funding will be used to ... clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety ... employed to support the design of a therapeutic, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers ... 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional ... spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... New York , June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by ... and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, ... USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated ... reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016 Paris ... Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of people ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international ... and services, announced today that its video security solution will ... to back up public safety across the country. The system ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):