Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory

Date:
April 22, 2014
Source:
Scripps Research Institute
Summary:
A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation.

The study, which showed a novel role for a protein known as RGS7, was published April 22, 2014 in the journal eLife, a publisher supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust.

"This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said Kirill Martemyanov, a TSRI associate professor who led the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

The team looked at RGS7 in the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that helps turn short-term memory in long-term memory.

The scientists found the RGS7 protein works in concert with another protein, R7BP, to regulate a key signaling cascade that is increasingly seen as a critical to cognitive development. The cascade involves the neurotransmitter GABA, which binds to the GABAb receptor and opens inhibitory channels known as GIRKs in the cell membrane. This process ultimately makes it more difficult for a nerve cell to fire.

This process turned out to be critical to normal functioning, as the research showed mice lacking RGS7 exhibited deficits in learning and memory.

Martemyanov believes the findings could ultimately have broad therapeutic application. "GIRK channels are implicated in a range of neuropsychiatric conditions, including drug addiction and Down's syndrome, that result from a disproportionate increase in neuronal inhibition as a result of greater mobilization of these channels," he said. "Now that we know the identity of the critical modulator of GIRK channels we can try to find a way to increase its power with the hopes of reducing the inhibitory overdrive, and that might potentially alleviate some of the disruptions seen in Down's syndrome. It is possible that similar strategies might apply for dealing with addiction, where adaptations in the GABAb-GIRK pathway play a significant role."

Targeting the RGS7 protein could allow for better therapeutic outcomes with fewer side effects because it allows for fine tuning of the signaling, according to Olga Ostrovskaya, the first author of the study and a member of Martemyanov's lab, who sees many ways to follow up on the findings.

"We're looking into how RGS7 is involved in neural circuitry and functions tied to the striatum, another part of the brain responsible for procedural memory, mood disorders, motivation and addiction," Ostrovskaya said. "We may uncover the RGS7 regulation of other signaling complexes that may be very different from those in hippocampus."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. O. Ostrovskaya, K. Xie, I. Masuho, A. Fajardo-Serrano, R. Lujan, K. Wickman, K. A. Martemyanov. RGS7/G5/R7BP complex regulates synaptic plasticity and memory by modulating hippocampal GABABR-GIRK signaling. eLife, 2014; 3 (0): e02053 DOI: 10.7554/elife.02053

Cite This Page:

Scripps Research Institute. "Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422142036.htm>.
Scripps Research Institute. (2014, April 22). Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422142036.htm
Scripps Research Institute. "Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422142036.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. 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:
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