Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene with a key role in neuronal survival identified

Date:
April 16, 2012
Source:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Summary:
Researchers have identified the fundamental role played by the Nurr1 gene in neuron survival associated with synaptic activity. The discovery allows scientists to study a new target that could help to understand the relationship between alterations in neural connections, which are known to cause early cognitive deficit, and the neurodegeneration characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Neurons studied by INc's researchers. Green neurons with the Nurr1 gene activity silenced.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Researchers at the Institute of Neurosciences at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB) identified the fundamental role played by the Nurr1 gene in neuron survival associated with synaptic activity. The discovery, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, allows scientists to study a new target that could help to understand the relationship between alterations in neural connections, which are known to cause early cognitive deficit, and the neurodegeneration characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Related Articles


During the development of the brain, hundreds of thousands of neurons die if they do not establish the necessary connections - synapses - with their cell targets. The process of regulating neuron survival and death is fundamental in the organization of brain connections forming the adult brain.

The effect of synaptic activity on the survival of these neurons however is not limited to the developing brain; it is also fundamental in the adult brain. The loss of synaptic activity, which results into the characteristic cognitive impairment seen in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, precedes and contributes to the neuronal death observed in these pathologies. Despite the importance of this process, there is no exact knowledge of the molecular mechanisms implied in neuron survival generated by this activity.

In the study directed by José Rodríguez Álvarez, researcher of the UAB Institute of Neurosciences, scientists determined the relation of a gene and the neuron survival regulated by synaptic activity. Through a massive analysis of gene activity, researchers identified several dozens of genes whose functions are regulated by this activity. Of all the genes, the research demonstrates the key role played by the Nurr1 gene in the survival of neurons. Among the discoveries made, researchers observed that when the activity of this gene is silenced, the neuron dies. The research concludes that this identification provides a better understanding into the relationship between early synaptic deficits and the posterior neurodegeneration observed in Alzheimer's disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Barneda-Zahonero, J.-M. Servitja, N. Badiola, A. J. Minano-Molina, R. Fado, C. A. Saura, J. Rodriguez-Alvarez. Nurr1 Protein Is Required for N-Methyl-D-aspartic Acid (NMDA) Receptor-mediated Neuronal Survival. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012; 287 (14): 11351 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.272427

Cite This Page:

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "Gene with a key role in neuronal survival identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120416100445.htm>.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. (2012, April 16). Gene with a key role in neuronal survival identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120416100445.htm
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "Gene with a key role in neuronal survival identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120416100445.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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