A new Princeton University study has identified more than 750 genes involved in long-term memory in the worm — part of research aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging, including compounds.
The new study, published in the journal Neuron, included many genes that had not been found previously and that could serve as targets for future research, said senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of molecular biology at Princeton and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.
The researchers then scanned the genomes of both trained worms and non-trained worms, looking for genes turned on by CREB. The researchers detected 757 CREB-activated genes in the long-term memory-trained worms, and showed that these genes were turned on primarily in worm cells called the AIM interneurons. They also found CREB-activated genes in non-trained worms, but the genes were not turned on in AIM interneurons and were not involved in long-term memory. CREB turns on genes involved in other biological functions such as growth, immune response, and metabolism. Throughout the worm, the researchers noted distinct non-memory (or “basal”) genes in addition to the memory-related genes.
“There is a pretty direct relationship between CREB and long-term memory,” Murphy said, “and many organisms lose CREB as they age.” By studying the CREB-activated genes involved in long-term memory, the researchers hope to better understand why some organisms lose their long-term memories as they age.
Worms are a perfect system in which to explore that question, Murphy said. The worm Caenorhabditis elegans has only 302 neurons, whereas a typical mammalian brain contains billions of the cells. “Worms use the same molecular machinery that higher organisms, including mammals, use to carry out long-term memory,” said Murphy. “We hope that other researchers will take our list and look at the genes to see whether they are important in more complex organisms.”
The next step, said Murphy, is to find out what these newly recognized long-term memory genes do when they are activated by CREB. For example, the activated genes may strengthen connections between neurons.
[Review] Until recently, the study of plasticity of neural circuits focused almost exclusively on potentiation and depression at excitatory synapses on principal cells. Other elements in the neural circuitry, such as inhibitory synapses on principal cells and the synapses recruiting interneurons, were assumed to be relatively inflexible, as befits a role of inhibition in maintaining stable levels and accurate timing of neuronal activity. It is now evident that inhibition is highly plastic, with multiple underlying cellular mechanisms. This Review considers these recent developments, focusing mainly on functional and structural changes in GABAergic inhibition of principal cells and long-term plasticity of glutamateric recruitment of inhibitory interneurons in the mammalian forebrain. A major challenge is to identify the adaptive roles of these different forms of plasticity, taking into account the roles of inhibition in the regulation of excitability, generation of population oscillations, and precise timing of neuronal firing. - by Kullmann DM et al., Neuron, Volume 75, Issue 6, 951-962, 20 September 2012
Neural Plasticity is an international, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of articles related to all aspects of neural plasticity, with special emphasis on its functional significance as reflected in behavior and in ...
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.