The role of RNA in learning and memory
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses some of the key issues relating to local changes at the synapse that mediate learning. RNA is particularly important in this regard.
Because we know that learning and memory at some level involves changes at the synapse, and one of the changes at the synapse has to do with protein translation, that area of investigation has become very, very hot. And the research questions involved here are: one, if translation is going to occur at the synapse, we have to get RNA out there. So, problem number one is how do RNAs travel out to the dendrite? Problem number two is how are RNAs selected for going to the dendrite? Once the RNA is out there, that has been selected travel there, and has gotten out there by some mechanism, how is the RNA selected for undergoing active translation as problem number three? Because before the actual activation occurs, that RNA has to remain silenced and the silencing of RNAs in dendrites and their activation as a result of synaptic activity is perhaps the kernel of what many neurobiologists are interested in today.
rna, protein translation, dendrites, synapse, learning, memory, cell, kenneth, kosik
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses changes in synapses that accompany long-term potentiation, which include enlarged dendritic spines.
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease, which affects the hippocampus, amygdala, and cortical areas. Areas, such as the cerebellum, are unaffected.
Professor James Eberwine describes the primary functions of RNA-binding proteins, which include regulating tRNAs, degrading RNAs, synthesizing RNAs, and regulating multigenic gene expression.
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term memories are created when the synapse sends a signal to the nucleus to activate certain genes.
Professor Kenneth Kosik describes senile plaques, an extracellular collection of a-beta protein. It is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
Professor James Eberwine discusses the structural changes in a cell related to long-term potentiation. These include changes in the shape of dendritic spines.
Communication in brain cells is guided by interactions between genes and biochemicals at the synapse. These interactions can lead to the formation of new synapses.
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses neurofibrillary tangles, which form inside a cell and are made up of a protein called tau. There is a strong relationship with plaques and amyloid deposition.
Professor Karim Nader explains that consolidation is a theory of memory that attributes memory formation to changes in synaptic strength and efficiency.
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.