Learning and memory: How neurons activate PP1

November 4, 2013

A study in The Journal of Cell Biology describes how neurons activate the protein PP1, providing key insights into the biology of learning and memory.

PP1 is known to be a key regulator of synaptic plasticity, the phenomenon in which remodel their in order to store and relay information—the foundation of learning and memory. But how PP1 is controlled has been unclear. Now, a team led by researchers from the LSU Health Science Center describes several mechanisms for PP1 regulation that close some major gaps in our understanding of its role in neuronal signaling.

Among the novel findings, the researchers describe how the neurotransmitter NMDA leads to activation of PP1. They show that, when NMDA activates , it switches off an enzyme, Cdk5, that would otherwise inhibit PP1. This allows PP1 to activate itself and promote synaptic remodeling. In addition, the researchers suggest that, despite its name, a regulatory protein called inhibitor-2 helps promote PP1 activity in neurons. Together, these findings significantly extend our understanding of how PP1 is regulated in the context of .

Explore further: Key enzyme discovered to be master regulator in protein-protein reactions

More information: Hou, H., et al. 2013. J. Cell Biol. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201303035

Related Stories

Research divines structure for class of proteins

September 8, 2010

Most proteins are shapely. But about one-third of them lack a definitive form, at least that scientists can readily observe. These intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) perform a host of important biological functions, ...

New research divines structure for class of proteins

September 21, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Most proteins are shapely, but about one-third of them lack a definitive form, at least that scientists can readily observe. These intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) perform a host of important biological ...

A mechanism to improve learning and memory

February 21, 2012

There are a number of drugs and experimental conditions that can block cognitive function and impair learning and memory. However, scientists have recently shown that some drugs can actually improve cognitive function, which ...

New regulator discovered for information transfer in the brain

June 20, 2013

The protein mSYD1 has a key function in transmitting information between neurons. This was recently discovered by the research group of Prof Peter Scheiffele at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. The findings of the investigations ...

Recommended for you

Special nerve cells cause goose bumps and nipple erection

August 29, 2016

The sympathetic nerve system has long been thought to respond the same regardless of the physical or emotional stimulus triggering it. However, in a new study from Karolinska Institutet published in the Nature Neuroscience, ...

A new window to understanding the brain

August 29, 2016

Scientists in recent years have made great strides in the quest to understand the brain by using implanted probes to explore how specific neural circuits work.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

beleg
not rated yet Nov 06, 2013
The foundation of learning and memory is not known.
Who wrote this article?

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.