Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Revealing The Regulating Mechanism Behind Signal Transduction In The Brain

Date:
September 22, 2008
Source:
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Summary:
Our brain consists of billions of cells that continually transmit signals to each other. This dynamic process 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 are now discovering how the Fragile X protein (FMRP) ensures that protein production is controlled at synapse and regulated by brain activity.

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology). "Revealing The Regulating Mechanism Behind Signal Transduction In The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170410.htm>.
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology). (2008, September 22). Revealing The Regulating Mechanism Behind Signal Transduction In The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170410.htm
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology). "Revealing The Regulating Mechanism Behind Signal Transduction In The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170410.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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