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 March 31, 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 March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
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