Neuroscience

Articles and news from the latest research reports.

756 notes

New ideas change your brain cells
A new University of British Columbia study identifies an important molecular change that occurs in the brain when we learn and remember.
Published this month in Nature Neuroscience, the research shows that learning stimulates our brain cells in a manner that causes a small fatty acid to attach to delta-catenin, a protein in the brain. This biochemical modification is essential in producing the changes in brain cell connectivity associated with learning, the study finds.
In animal models, the scientists found almost twice the amount of modified delta-catenin in the brain after learning about new environments. While delta-catenin has previously been linked to learning, this study is the first to describe the protein’s role in the molecular mechanism behind memory formation.
“More work is needed, but this discovery gives us a much better understanding of the tools our brains use to learn and remember, and provides insight into how these processes become disrupted in neurological diseases,” says co-author Shernaz Bamji, an associate professor in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute.
It may also provide an explanation for some mental disabilities, the researchers say. People born without the gene have a severe form of mental retardation called Cri-du-chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder named for the high-pitched cat-like cry of affected infants. Disruption of the delta-catenin gene has also been observed in some patients with schizophrenia.
“Brain activity can change both the structure of this protein, as well as its function,” says Stefano Brigidi, first author of the article and a PhD candidate Bamji’s laboratory. “When we introduced a mutation that blocked the biochemical modification that occurs in healthy subjects, we abolished the structural changes in brain’s cells that are known to be important for memory formation.”
Background 
According to the researchers, more work is needed to fully establish the importance of delta-catenin in building the brain connectivity behind learning and memory. Disruptions to these nerve cell connections are also believed to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease. Understanding the biochemical processes that are important for maintaining these connections may help address the abnormalities in nerve cells that occur in these disease states.
(Image: Shutterstock)

New ideas change your brain cells

A new University of British Columbia study identifies an important molecular change that occurs in the brain when we learn and remember.

Published this month in Nature Neuroscience, the research shows that learning stimulates our brain cells in a manner that causes a small fatty acid to attach to delta-catenin, a protein in the brain. This biochemical modification is essential in producing the changes in brain cell connectivity associated with learning, the study finds.

In animal models, the scientists found almost twice the amount of modified delta-catenin in the brain after learning about new environments. While delta-catenin has previously been linked to learning, this study is the first to describe the protein’s role in the molecular mechanism behind memory formation.

“More work is needed, but this discovery gives us a much better understanding of the tools our brains use to learn and remember, and provides insight into how these processes become disrupted in neurological diseases,” says co-author Shernaz Bamji, an associate professor in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute.

It may also provide an explanation for some mental disabilities, the researchers say. People born without the gene have a severe form of mental retardation called Cri-du-chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder named for the high-pitched cat-like cry of affected infants. Disruption of the delta-catenin gene has also been observed in some patients with schizophrenia.

“Brain activity can change both the structure of this protein, as well as its function,” says Stefano Brigidi, first author of the article and a PhD candidate Bamji’s laboratory. “When we introduced a mutation that blocked the biochemical modification that occurs in healthy subjects, we abolished the structural changes in brain’s cells that are known to be important for memory formation.”

Background

According to the researchers, more work is needed to fully establish the importance of delta-catenin in building the brain connectivity behind learning and memory. Disruptions to these nerve cell connections are also believed to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease. Understanding the biochemical processes that are important for maintaining these connections may help address the abnormalities in nerve cells that occur in these disease states.

(Image: Shutterstock)

Filed under delta-catenin synaptic plasticity learning memory synapses genetic disorders neuroscience science

  1. a-n-g-e-l-i-c-x reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  2. em-pa-na-das reblogged this from sagansense
  3. soul-deliverance reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    New ideas change your brain cells A new University of British Columbia study identifies an important molecular change...
  4. chionearisteia reblogged this from ruckawriter
  5. the-cosmic-coffee reblogged this from somuchscience
  6. hannahsofia reblogged this from afgguy90
  7. wwbioteach reblogged this from everydaylearningandteaching
  8. everydaylearningandteaching reblogged this from howstuffworks
  9. caaahlo reblogged this from sagansense
  10. fingertipstrimbling reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  11. afgguy90 reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    i love the brain
  12. pjh7572 reblogged this from aspiringdoctorsclub
  13. adanska reblogged this from gokuma
  14. not-arizona-tea reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  15. padraicjfitzgerald reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  16. theanalyzersfanfics reblogged this from polymethodic
  17. polymethodic reblogged this from ajora
  18. ajora reblogged this from howstuffworks
  19. kaletam reblogged this from sagansense
  20. katiejomai reblogged this from theycallmekill
  21. companioncube76 reblogged this from howstuffworks
  22. endorphinique reblogged this from 0bscuredbyclouds
  23. toobgnabdoolb reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  24. gkwright reblogged this from jamesovei
  25. faradportee reblogged this from ruckawriter
  26. jamesovei reblogged this from ruckawriter
  27. ladykrampus reblogged this from thenecromerchantsdebt
  28. kurahicosplay reblogged this from ruckawriter
  29. myreptilianmasters reblogged this from drdavidmrmack
  30. irwinglasses reblogged this from adolphsax
  31. metaldiogenes reblogged this from ruckawriter
  32. nickjetset reblogged this from drdavidmrmack
  33. drdavidmrmack reblogged this from ruckawriter
free counters