Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coupling Of Brain Proteins May Prompt New Treatments For Schizophrenia, Addiction: Study

Date:
January 20, 2000
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a cellular communication method in the brain -- a couple of two structurally different proteins -- that could lead to new therapeutic strategies for shizophrenia and addiction.

Researchers at the University of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) have discovered a cellular communication method in the brain that could lead to improved treatments for schizophrenia and addiction.

Many of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia and addiction are caused by either too much or too little dopamine and GABA, chemicals in the brain that help regulate learning, memory, emotion and cognition. In a study published in the Jan. 20 edition of the journal Nature, researchers demonstrate how proteins can modify each other's function - including the ability of neurons to accept or reject dopamine and other neurochemicals - by binding to each other.

"What we found is a previously unknown method of signal transduction between two structurally different neurotransmitter receptor systems, that is, the direct physical coupling of these proteins," says senior author Dr. Hyman Niznik, associate professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at U of T and section head, laboratory and molecular neurobiology at CAMH. "This may provide us with a new therapeutic window on how to restore normal cellular function in diseases like schizophrenia with the right medication that can either block this interaction or make it happen."

Brain cells communicate with each other via neurotransmitters - natural chemicals that interact with proteins, or receptors, on adjacent neurons. There are many different types of receptors in the brain, some of which respond only to dopamine and some only to the neurotransmitter GABA [g-aminobutyric acid]. Of the many dopamine receptors, two - D1 and D5 - are very similar and respond to the same drugs. Many of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and addiction are regulated by D1-like receptors.

Niznik and his team of researchers demonstrated that dopamine D5 receptors can directly modify the function of GABA receptors by directly binding to them and forming a receptor-receptor complex. "GABA receptors are structurally different from dopamine D5 receptors, and act as the major shutdown systems for virtually every part of the brain," says co-author Dr. Yu Wang, associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at U of T and scientist at HSC's research institute. Dopamine receptors were previously believed to be able to modify GABA receptors only by interacting with another protein, called G-proteins.

"We've shown how these two receptor proteins bind to each other in order to modify each other's function," Niznik says. "It's like cutting out the middle guy - you don't need the G-protein to let these receptors "talk" to each other. We believe this to be a very general phenomenon." Niznik expects to find many other pairs of brain cell surface receptors that physically couple to each other to regulate brain function.

The researchers believe this study also provides some answers as to why there are many different types of receptors - like D1 and D5 - that until now appeared to carry out the same function. "The same protein that turns cells on in one part of the brain can have little or no effect on another part, depending on which receptor it physically couples to," he says.

"Our next step will be to demonstrate that there is a malfunction in this coupling phenomenon between these neurotransmitter receptor proteins in the brains of schizophrenics," says lead author Dr. Fang Liu, research scientist at CAMH. The researchers believe this work will ultimately introduce a whole new field of study in signal transduction and molecular neuropsychiatry.

This study was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the C. Cleghorn Fellowship in Schizophrenia Research at U of T and CAMH.

CONTACT:
Megan Easton
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-5948
steven.desousa@utoronto.ca
http://www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Coupling Of Brain Proteins May Prompt New Treatments For Schizophrenia, Addiction: Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114133531.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2000, January 20). Coupling Of Brain Proteins May Prompt New Treatments For Schizophrenia, Addiction: Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114133531.htm
University Of Toronto. "Coupling Of Brain Proteins May Prompt New Treatments For Schizophrenia, Addiction: Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114133531.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. 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