Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key Protein Controlling Brain Formation Identified

Date:
September 7, 2009
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers have identified a protein which plays a key role in the development of neurons, which could enhance our understanding of how the brain works, and how diseases such as Alzheimer's occur.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have identified a protein which plays a key role in the development of neurons, which could enhance our understanding of how the brain works and how diseases such as Alzheimer's occur.

U of T graduate student John Calarco, working in the labs of Professor Ben Blencowe (Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto) and Professor Mei Zhen (Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital), has identified a protein known as nSR100, which is only found in vertebrate species and which controls a network of "alternative splicing events" that are located in the messages of genes with critical functions in the formation of the nervous system.

The findings are published in a paper in the current edition of the journal Cell.

Alternative splicing events greatly expand the diversity of the genetic messages and corresponding proteins produced by genes in vertebrate cells and this process partially accounts for the evolution of remarkable complexity in organs such as the mammalian brain. Calarco, recipient of a prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Studentship, together with colleagues in the Blencowe lab, identified nSR100 using computational and experimental methods and then determined its role in the control of alternative splicing in the brain. These studies revealed that nSR100 regulates splicing events in genes that help form neurons.

Collaborator and co-author Brian Ciruna and his colleagues at the the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto further demonstrated that nSR100 plays a critical role in the development of the vertebrate nervous system.

"The brain is by far the most complex organ in the human body and understanding how it functions represents one of the foremost challenges of biomedical research. A large number of neurological disorders arise when the development and function of certain neurons is impaired. A major research goal is therefore to identify key genes required for the specification and function of neurons in the brain, and nSR100 represents such a gene," said Blencowe, principal investigator on the study.

Calarco added that the findings present a new avenue of investigation for researchers. "The study provides intriguing insight into how the evolution of a single protein has contributed to the expansion of brain complexity in vertebrates - including humans. Further investigation into the complex network of splicing events regulated by nSR100 may uncover important aspects of how neurons normally function and also how they become impaired in neurological diseases like Alzheimer's."

The authors' research is supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Research Fund and Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute.


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. "Key Protein Controlling Brain Formation Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165049.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2009, September 7). Key Protein Controlling Brain Formation Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165049.htm
University of Toronto. "Key Protein Controlling Brain Formation Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090904165049.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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