Long-term Memories Maintained by Prion-like Proteins

Long-term Memories Maintained by Prion-like Proteins
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have released multiple study findings showing that long term memories are stored with the help of prion-like proteins called CPEB.  These CPEB proteins work to form long term memory in the same way as the mechanisms that cause mad cow disease, kuru, and other degenerative brain diseases. Background Terminology:
  • Prion protein: is a protein that can fold in multiple, structurally distinct ways, at least one of which is misfolded and transmissible to other prion proteins.
  • Protein aggregate:  is a biological phenomenon in which misfolded proteins accumulate and clump together.
  • Synapse: is the space where nerve cells connect to one another. When a charge reaches a synapse, it may trigger release of tiny bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters which are vital components for normal functioning of the brain.
The studies were conducted in the lab of world renowned neuroscientist and Nobel Lauriat, Dr. Eric R. Kandel, MD, University Professor & Kavli Professor of Brain Science, Director, The Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Co-director, The Mind Brain Behavior Initiative, Senior Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, CUMC, whose specialization includes the molecular biology of long term memory storage, the initiation and maintenance of synaptic growth; examination of features shared in simple forms of learning and memo
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