Metabolic Enzyme Fuels Molecular Machinery of Memory
Penn study finds epigenetics key to laying down spatial memories in mouse brain, providing possible new neurological medications
Understanding how memories are made, retrieved and eventually fade over a lifetime is the stuff of poems and song. To medical researchers, solving the mysteries of memory is even more elusive. Researchers surmise that “laying down” a new memory and storing an old memory both involve making proteins at the space, or synapse, where one neuron meets another. But forming these also requires new gene expression in the cell nucleus, where DNA is stored and genes are “read” to establish cell-specific functions. Now, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered, in the mouse brain, that a key metabolic enzyme works directly within the nucleus of neurons to turn genes on or off when new memories are being established.
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