Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lack of naturally occuring protein linked to dementia

Date:
August 26, 2014
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
The first evidence that the lack of a naturally occurring protein is linked to early signs of dementia has been provided by researchers. An absence of MK2/3, in spite of the brain cells (neurons) having significant structural abnormalities, did not prevent memories being formed, but did prevent these memories from being altered.

Synapses with and without MK2/3.
Credit: University of Warwick

Scientists at the University of Warwick have provided the first evidence that the lack of a naturally occurring protein is linked to early signs of dementia.

Related Articles


Published in Nature Communications, the research found that the absence of the protein MK2/3 promotes structural and physiological changes to cells in the nervous system. These changes were shown to have a significant correlation with early signs of dementia, including restricted learning and memory formation capabilities.

An absence of MK2/3, in spite of the brain cells (neurons) having significant structural abnormalities, did not prevent memories being formed, but did prevent these memories from being altered.

The results have led the researchers to call for greater attention to be paid to studying MK2/3.

Lead researcher and author Dr Sonia Corrêa says that "Understanding how the brain functions from the sub-cellular to systems level is vital if we are to be able to develop ways to counteract changes that occur with aging.

"By demonstrating for the first time that the MK2/3 protein, which is essential for neuron communication, is required to fine-tune memory formation this study provides new insight into how molecular mechanisms regulate cognition."

Neurons can adapt memories and make them more relevant to current situations by changing the way they communicate with other cells.

Information in the brain is transferred between neurons at synapses using chemicals (neurotransmitters) released from one (presynaptic) neuron which then act on receptors in the next (postsynaptic) neuron in the chain.

MK2/3 regulates the shape of spines in properly functioning postsynaptic neurons. Postsynaptic neurons with MK2/3 feature wider, shorter spines than those without.

The researchers found that change, caused by MK2/3's absence, in the spine's shape restricts the ability of neurons to communicate with each other, leading to alterations in the ability to acquire new memories.

"Deterioration of brain function commonly occurs as we get older but, as result of dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases, it can occur earlier in people's lives," says Dr Corrêa. "For those who develop the early signs of dementia it becomes more difficult for them to adapt to changes in their life, including performing routine tasks.

"For example, washing the dishes; if you have washed them by hand your whole life and then buy a dishwasher it can be difficult for those people who are older or have dementia to acquire the new memories necessary to learn how to use the machine and mentally replace the old method of washing dishes with the new. The change in shape of the postsynaptic neuron due to absence of MK2/3 is strongly correlated with this inability to acquire the new memories."

Dr Corrêa argues that "Given their vital role in memory formation, MK2/3 pathways are important potential pharmaceutical targets for the treatment of cognitive deficits associated with aging and dementia."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine L. Eales, Oleg Palygin, Thomas O’Loughlin, Seyed Rasooli-Nejad, Matthias Gaestel, Jürgen Müller, Dawn R. Collins, Yuriy Pankratov, Sonia A.L. Corrêa. The MK2/3 cascade regulates AMPAR trafficking and cognitive flexibility. Nature Communications, 2014; 5: 4701 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5701

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Lack of naturally occuring protein linked to dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826112904.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2014, August 26). Lack of naturally occuring protein linked to dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826112904.htm
University of Warwick. "Lack of naturally occuring protein linked to dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826112904.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) — The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. 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