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Unique protein bond enables learning and memory
Date:10/30/2012

rotein, SAP102, a member of the MAGUK family of scaffolding proteins, is the only family member known to directly contribute to maladies: its mutation causes intellectual disability.

While all cells have a system for managing the number of receptors on their surface, in Alzheimer's, this removal process appears accelerated, with increased engulfing of receptors and less neuron-to-neuron communication. The neurotransmitter glutamate helps establish and maintain the synapse and also binds with GluN2B.

GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors stay open to receive information for a long time, enabling the type of vigorous and sustained communication that enables learning and memory. In fact the number of these receptors naturally decreases with age, which may be one reason young people learn easier. When it's time to remove a receptor, phosphorus gets added to GluN2B, changing its function so it no longer binds to the scaffolding protein.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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