Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A micro-RNA as a key regulator of learning and Alzheimer's disease

Date:
September 25, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Scientists have identified an RNA molecule as a potential target for new Alzheimer's therapies.

Proteins are the molecular machines of the cell. They transport materials, cleave products or transmit signals -- and for a long time, they have been a main focus of attention in molecular biology research. In the last two decades, however, another class of critically important molecules has emerged: small RNA molecules, including micro-RNAs. It is now well established that micro-RNAs play a key role in the regulation of cell function."A micro-RNA regulates the production of an estimated 300-400 proteins.

Related Articles


This class of molecules can be regarded as a switch that coordinates the transition of cells from one state to another," explains Prof. Dr. André Fischer, scientist at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Speaker of the DZNE site Göttingen. He and his team have identified a micro-RNA that regulates the learning processes and probably plays a central role in Alzheimer's disease. The researchers have shown that there is too much of a micro-RNA called "miRNA 34c" in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, and decreasing the level of miRNA 34c in these mice can restore their learning ability. The scientists have identified a new target molecule that might be important for diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The studies were carried out in collaboration with scientists at the European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen, the Göttingen University, the DZNE site in Munich and researchers from Switzerland, USA and Brazil.

miRNA 34c was identified using a highly complex method called "massive parallel sequencing." With this technology, Fischer and his colleagues captured the complete RNA composition in the hippocampus -- the learning region of the brain -- and compared this with the RNA of the entire brain. They showed that miRNA 34c is enriched in the hippocampus, especially in during the time window of a few hours after a learning phase. "We suspect that the function of micro-RNA 34c is to switch off a whole range of gene products that are turned on in the learning process," Fischer said. Too much miRNA 34c would then lead to a blockade of learning -- which is exactly what was shown in subsequent experiments.

In old mice, which do not learn as easily as their younger counterparts, there was indeed too much miRNA 34c. The miRNA-34c level was also elevated in mice that are used as specific research models of Alzheimer's disease. These mice carry a genetic mutation that can cause Alzheimer's in humans and show disturbances of memory function. Moreover, miRNA 34c seems to not only play a role in mice. Fischer and his colleagues showed these levels are also elevated in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

In further mouse experiments, the researchers showed that miRNA 34c is actually causally involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and memory disorders. An artificial increase of miRNA-34c level in normal mice results in memory impairment in the animals. Secondly, as Fischer and his colleagues have shown, lowering miRNA-34c levels can restore learning ability in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and in older mice. "Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's are associated with many factors. We hope that with the identification of micro-RNA 34c, we have found an important mediator of pathogenesis," says Fischer. "Micro-RNA 34c would then be a good candidate for the development of drugs against Alzheimer's."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Athanasios Zovoilis, Hope Y Agbemenyah, Roberto C Agis-Balboa, Roman M Stilling,Dieter Edbauer, Pooja Rao, Laurent Farinelli, Ivanna Delalle, Andrea Schmitt, Peter Falkai, Sanaz Bahari-Javan, Susanne Burkhardt, Farahnaz Sananbenesi1 & Andre Fischer. Micro-RNA-34C is a novel target to treat dementias. EMBO Journal, 2011.327

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "A micro-RNA as a key regulator of learning and Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923111259.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, September 25). A micro-RNA as a key regulator of learning and Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923111259.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "A micro-RNA as a key regulator of learning and Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923111259.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
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