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MIT researchers find that Sirtuin1 may boost memory and learning ability
Date:7/11/2010

onarily conserved pathway that allows organisms to cope with adversity. These genes and the enzymes they produce are part of a feedback system that enhances cell survival during times of stress, especially a lack of food.

Recent studies linked SIRT1 to normal brain physiology and neurological disorders. However, it was unknown if SIRT1 played a role in higher-order brain functions.

The Picower Institute study shows that SIRT1 enhances synaptic plasticity, the connections among neurons, and memory formation. These findings demonstrate a new role for SIRT1 in cognition and a previously unknown mechanism by which SIRT1 regulates these processes.

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules encoded in the genomes of plants and animals. These gene regulators are involved in many aspects of normal and abnormal brain function. The Picower study found that SIRT1 aids memory and synaptic plasticity through a previously unknown microRNA-based mechanism: SIRT1 keeps a specific microRNA in check, allowing key plasticity proteins to be expressed.

In addition to helping neurons survive, SIRT1 also has a direct role in regulating normal brain function, demonstrating its value as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of the central nervous system.


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Contact: Jennifer Hirsch
jfhirsch@mit.edu
617-253-1682
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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