Single protein plays important dual transport roles in the brain

Just as a packaging breakdown can hamstring delivery of cables, switches and connectors to a house under construction, removing a protein from neurons can block the “shipment” of proteins to developing axons. Axons are the telephone wires of the nervous system. They convey information to dendrites on other nerve cells, in a processing network of phenomenal complexity that is the […]

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Gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease is involved in neuronal communication

A study published today in the journal Cell Reports sheds new light on how the CD2AP gene may enhance Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility. Integrating experiments in fruit flies, mice and human brains, a multi-institutional team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that the CD2AP gene is involved in synaptic transmission, the process by which neurons communicate. Digging deeper, […]

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Faulty brain circuits repaired using nanotechnology: Possible new drug targets for dementia and intellectual disability

Working with mouse and human tissue, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report new evidence that a protein pumped out of some — but not all — populations of “helper” cells in the brain, called astrocytes, plays a specific role in directing the formation of connections among neurons needed for learning and forming new memories. Using mice genetically engineered and bred with […]

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Alzheimer’s protein is likely held together with many weak chemical interactions: Model reveals new role for overlooked electron relationships

The chemical interactions that give proteins their shape may be weaker and more numerous than previously recognized. These weak connections provide a new way for researchers to understand proteins that cause disease and help them gain insights into the fundamentals of chemistry. Chemists at the University of Tokyo modeled the building blocks of the protein structure that causes Alzheimer’s disease, […]

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Breaking down pathological protein aggregates

Aggregates of the protein alpha-synuclein in the nerve cells of the brain play a key role in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. These protein clumps can travel from nerve cell to nerve cell, causing the disease to progress. A team of researchers led by ETH scientists have now discovered how the body can rid itself of these damaging aggregates. Their […]

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Drug can reverse hyperactivity induced by parasitic infection

When rodents get infected by Toxoplasma gondii, the single-celled brain parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, they become hyperactive risk-takers. In findings published this week in mBio, researchers show for the first time that it’s possible to reverse that behavioral change. Surprisingly, the study also showed that the restoration of normal behavior resulted from reducing inflammation — and not from reducing the […]

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Genetic study of impulsiveness reveals associations with psychiatric disorders

Impulsiveness and substance use share a genetic basis, according to genome-wide association studies published in JNeurosci by academic and industry researchers. With more than 20,000 participants, the research represents the largest genetic analysis of impulsive personality traits to date. Dr. Abraham Palmer and colleagues compared genetic data with self-reported impulsive personality traits and history of drug experimentation from a large […]

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Biologists identify promising drug for ALS treatment

A new drug could significantly slow the progression of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists. Current treatments slow progression of the degenerative disease by only a few months, and these findings could revolutionize the treatment of patients suffering from ALS, extending and improving quality of life. The drug, called telbivudine, […]

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A molecule for fighting muscular paralysis

Myotubular myopathy is a severe genetic disease that leads to muscle paralysis from birth and results in death before two years of age. Although no treatment currently exists, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, — working in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg, France, — have identified a molecule that not only greatly reduces the progression of the […]

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Changes to RNA aid the process of learning and memory

RNA carries pieces of instructions encoded in DNA to coordinate the production of proteins that will carry out the work to be done in a cell. But the process isn’t always straightforward. Chemical modifications to DNA or RNA can alter the way genes are expressed without changing the actual genetic sequences. These epigenetic or epitranscriptome changes can affect many biological […]

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