Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fragile X Brain Synapses Mostly Undeveloped, Researchers Say

Date:
September 9, 1999
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Views of normal brains and of those afflicted with Fragile X Mental Retardation Syndrome are coming into focus, and the contrast in synapse development is vividly clear, say researchers at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Views of normal brains and of those afflicted with Fragile X Mental Retardation Syndrome are coming into focus, and the contrast in synapse development is vividly clear, say researchers at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

A big difference is in dendritic spines--projections from nerve cells through which many impulses make their synaptic connections. Normal brains have thick, well-developed spines; mostly long, narrow and undeveloped spines protrude from the nerve cells in Fragile X brains.

The apparatus for normal development exists in both brains, but the message carrier is not working in Fragile X brains, researchers William T. Greenough and Ivan Jeanne Weiler reported Aug. 25 at the Ninth Annual International Workshop on Fragile X Syndrome and X-Linked Mental Retardation in Strasbourg, France. In Boston, before traveling to Europe, Greenough received a Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award during the American Psychological Association annual convention for his research on the mechanisms underlying learning and memory.

When stimulated in early development, spines in normal brain tissue rapidly record the experience, generate protein, grow and mature, forming a characteristic thick, functional shape. Spines in Fragile X brains don't change or mature. The Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is not working, thus secondary protein synthesis necessary for maturation does not occur, the researchers reported.

Their work-- funded by the FRAXA Research Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-- involves experiments with mice and rats and examinations of autopsy samples of human Fragile X patients.

In May 1997, a team led by Greenough and Weiler reported that FMRP is produced at synapses of the brain. Genetic suppression of FMRP already was known to cause mental retardation. Fragile X Syndrome is the most common cause of genetically inherited mental impairment. Fragile X refers to the broken appearance of the X chromosome when cells are cultured under specific conditions.

The new findings suggest possible roles of FMRP in dendritic spine maturation and pruning. "By studying an abnormal pattern of brain development, we have discovered a process that is fundamental to normal brain development," said Greenough, a professor of psychology, of psychiatry and of cell and structural biology.

"At the base of X synapses, there are little organelles that can make protein," said Weiler, a research scientist. "Most of these organelles in most cells are found very near to the nucleus, which has tight control of what is made. We have found that in nerve cells this protein-manufacturing assembly is also present at the synapse, and that the Fragile X protein is necessary for it to work properly, but we don't know what other proteins are involved or how the synapse knows what to make. The synthesis of a protein by this organelle causes, or leads to, changes that are part of the transformation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Fragile X Brain Synapses Mostly Undeveloped, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909072618.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1999, September 9). Fragile X Brain Synapses Mostly Undeveloped, Researchers Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909072618.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Fragile X Brain Synapses Mostly Undeveloped, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909072618.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins