Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fly Eyes Help Researchers 'See' New Proteins Involved In Memory

Date:
August 26, 2009
Source:
Genetics Society of America
Summary:
With more than 1,500 eyes, not much escapes the fruit fly's sight. Now, a new research report describes how researchers from the United States and Ireland used those eyes to "see" new proteins necessary for memory. In addition to shedding light on this critical neurological process, the study also provides information on the fragile X form of mental retardation in humans.

Researchers have used the eyes of fruit flies to "see" new proteins necessary for memory.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tomasz Zachariasz

With more than 1,500 eyes, not much escapes the fruit fly's sight. Now, a new research report in the journal Genetics describes how researchers from the United States and Ireland used those eyes to "see" new proteins necessary for memory. In addition to shedding light on this critical neurological process, the study also provides information on a form of mental retardation in humans.

"Understanding translational control mechanisms in the brain teaches us how the brain learns and adapts, and will inform the design of treatments for specific types of neurologic disease," said Dr. Anne-Marie Cziko, at the University of Arizona and co-author of the study.

Specifically, the scientists found that the "fragile X mental retardation protein," which plays a crucial role in the cellular processes involved in learning and memory, needs five other proteins to function normally. The scientists identified these proteins using an artificial system of increasing fragile X mental retardation protein in the eyes of fruit flies. Its high level leads to visible deformities in a fly's eyes. To test the requirement of various candidate proteins for function of the fragile X mental retardation protein, the researchers genetically modified the flies to prevent them from making each candidate protein. They found that loss of any one of the five proteins caused the fruit fly's eye to be significantly less deformed, revealing that each is required for function of the fragile X mental retardation protein.

Because previous work suggested that the fragile X protein regulates gene expression via an important group of small RNAs called "microRNAs," the scientists tested whether the proteins they identified were required for a specific microRNA named "bantam" to function in fruit flies. The researchers performed these experiments by removing copies of the identified proteins from the fly. Instead of looking at the flies' eyes, the researchers looked inside the flies using a fluorescent protein that indicates how well bantam is functioning. The investigators were surprised to find that none of the five proteins identified in the study had an effect on bantam. Even more surprisingly, neither did the fragile X mental retardation protein.

This finding and the identification of the five new proteins that interact with the fragile X mental retardation protein give new insight into additional and alternative functions of fragile X mental retardation protein. They also indicate the need for more study into the fragile X mental retardation protein's function itself.

"Any college student on the eve of final exams will tell you that truly understanding—and possibly manipulating—how our brains store information is the 'Holy Grail' of neurological research," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics. "Although college students are advised to continue hitting the books, this area of research holds tremendous promise for millions or people with neurological diseases and disabilities, as well as for those with learning disorders."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Genetics Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Genetic Modifiers of dFMR1 Encode RNA Granule Components in Drosophila. Genetic Modifiers of dFMR1 Encode RNA Granule Components in Drosophila. Genetics, 2009; 182 (4): 1051 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.103234

Cite This Page:

Genetics Society of America. "Fly Eyes Help Researchers 'See' New Proteins Involved In Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824182441.htm>.
Genetics Society of America. (2009, August 26). Fly Eyes Help Researchers 'See' New Proteins Involved In Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824182441.htm
Genetics Society of America. "Fly Eyes Help Researchers 'See' New Proteins Involved In Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824182441.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 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:
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