Long-term memory controls discovered

Jan 13, 2006

Harvard biologists say research on the long-term memory in fruit flies may lead to new therapeutics to treat human memory loss.

A molecular pathway active in neurons interacts with RNA to regulate the formation of long-term memory in fruit flies. The same pathway is also found at mammalian synapses, researchers said.

"This pathway, called RISC, interacts with RNA at synapses to facilitate the protein synthesis associated with forming a stable memory. In fruit flies, at least, this process makes the difference between remembering something for an hour and remembering it for a day or more," said Professor Sam Kunes.

The findings are published in the online version of the journal Cell.

Using a classical learning test that simultaneously exposes the insects to an odor and an electric shock, the researchers found that long-term memory could be greatly increased by adjusting the activity of the RISC pathway in the fruit flies.

Kunes says the various proteins that comprise the RISC pathway are also found at synapses in mice and humans, suggesting it could be a target for new medications to boost human memory, the university said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Search continues at ancient Greek burial mound (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nail stem cells prove more versatile than press ons

4 minutes ago

There are plenty of body parts that don't grow back when you lose them. Nails are an exception, and a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals some of the r ...

Swift gamma-ray burst mission marks ten years of discovery

15 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Swift spacecraft lifted off aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., beginning its mission to study gamma-ray bursts and identify their origins. Gamma-ray ...

New battery technology for electric vehicles

16 minutes ago

Scientists at the Canadian Light Source are on the forefront of battery technology using cheaper materials with higher energy and better recharging rates that make them ideal for electric vehicles (EVs).

Recommended for you

Tracking Chinese aid to Africa

1 hour ago

Is a fancy new school in an African government official's hometown a coincidence, or evidence of systematic favouritism in the distribution of aid?

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.