New Genes Involved in Long-term Memory Identified

by Vishnuprasad on  January 24, 2015 at 11:46 AM Research News   - G J E 4
A new research has shed light on a genome and has revealed new genes that are involved in forming long-term memories.

The study conducted in c. Elegans worms at Princeton University aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging.
New Genes Involved in Long-term Memory Identified
New Genes Involved in Long-term Memory Identified

Senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, said that the study identified more than 750 genes involved in long-term memory, including many that had not been found previously and that could serve as targets for future research.

Murphy said that there is a pretty direct relationship between CREB (cAMP-response element-binding protein) and long-term memory and many organisms lose CREB as they age and 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.

To identify the genes, the researchers first instilled long-term memories in the worms by training them to associate meal-time with a butterscotch smell. Trained worms were able to remember that the butterscotch smell means dinner for about 16 hours, a significant amount of time for the worm.

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.

The researchers 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.

The study was published in the journal Neuron.

Source: Medindia

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