Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fragile X protein loss alters brain pathways responsible for learning and memory

Date:
April 9, 2010
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
Fragile X syndrome is due to the functional loss of fragile X mental retardation protein in the brain. Researchers are beginning to understand how FMRP regulates signaling pathways in the brain that are essential for learning and memory in adults. In a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, researchers found FMRP plays a key role in regulating adult neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are generated in the adult brain. Adult neurogenesis is considered important for learning and memory.

Geneticists have known for two decades that fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability, is due to the functional loss of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) in the brain. Now they are beginning to understand how FMRP regulates signaling pathways in the brain that are essential for learning and memory in adults.

Related Articles


Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine have described new discoveries about the role of FMRP in the journal PLoS Genetics.

In a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, researchers found that FMRP plays a key role in regulating adult neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are generated in the adult brain. Adult neurogenesis is considered important for learning and memory.

FMRP is an RNA-binding protein that regulates the translation of genetic information from specific mRNAs into proteins. The researchers found that FMRP regulates the expression of several proteins that are critical for the regulation of adult neural progenitor cells (aNPCs). The dysregulation of these proteins, including CDK4 and GSK3β, interferes with an important signaling pathway in the brain called Wnt. When this pathway is disturbed, aNPCs proliferate and lose the ability to differentiate appropriately. This leads to a reduction in the number of new neurons as well as defective maturation of these neurons.

Neurogenesis occurs throughout life in two areas of the brain: the subgranular zone (SGZ) in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, and the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles. Research has shown that new neurons generated in the DG are critical for hippocampus-dependent learning and that blocking adult neurogenesis can lead to deficits in learning and memory. Although scientists have shown that adult neurogenesis and learning are altered in conditions such as stress, diabetes, neurological diseases, stroke, and traumatic injury, the link between adult neurogenesis and mental retardation has not been fully explored.

"We discovered that mice lacking the Fmr1 gene have a reduced number of new neurons in the dentate gyrus, and that FMRP-deficient neurons have reduced dendritic complexity and length. Both of these factors could lead to the learning and emotional disabilities associated with fragile X syndrome," says Peng Jin, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics in Emory University School of Medicine and one of the paper's senior authors.

Xinyu Zhao, PhD, at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine was the paper's other senior author. Lead authors were Yuping Luo, Ge Shan, Weixiang Guo, Richard D. Smrt, and Eric B. Johnson.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yuping Luo, Ge Shan, Weixiang Guo, Richard D. Smrt, Eric B. Johnson, Xuekun Li, Rebecca L. Pfeiffer, Keith E. Szulwach, Ranhui Duan, Basam Z. Barkho, Wendi Li, Changmei Liu, Peng Jin, Xinyu Zhao. Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein Regulates Proliferation and Differentiation of Adult Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells. PLoS Genetics, 2010; 6 (4): e1000898 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000898

Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Fragile X protein loss alters brain pathways responsible for learning and memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408171508.htm>.
Emory University. (2010, April 9). Fragile X protein loss alters brain pathways responsible for learning and memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408171508.htm
Emory University. "Fragile X protein loss alters brain pathways responsible for learning and memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408171508.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Researchers at University of Texas at Austin found a link between binge-watching TV shows and feelings of loneliness and depression. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
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