Structural protein may be new marker of depression

Structural protein may be new marker of depression
The brains of depressed people contain less modified tubulin in the plasma membrane. Credit: Singh et al., JNeurosci 2020

Scientists have zeroed in on a structural protein as a new target for the diagnosis and treatment of depression, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

The protein tubulin provides structure to cells and assists in many , but it also plays a role in depression. A modified form of tubulin anchors the protein Gαs to lipid rafts, fatty structures floating in the cell membrane. In , Gαs gets stuck in lipid rafts and cannot trigger the production of cAMP, a molecule necessary for quick messaging in the . Imaging studies have shown that people with depression have less cAMP in their brains, which is remedied after successful treatment.

Singh et al. examined the amount of modified tubulin in the brains from people who were not depressed as well as those from people with depression who died by suicide and by other causes. All the brains contained the same amount of modified tubulin, but the brains of people with depression had less modified tubulin in the lipid rafts. This could allow more tubulin to trap Gαs in the , preventing cAMP production. Tubulin could provide a diagnostic marker of depression and a target of antidepressant treatment.

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More information: Membrane-Associated α-Tubulin Is Less Acetylated in Postmortem Prefrontal Cortex From Depressed Subjects Relative to Controls: Cytoskeletal Dynamics, HDAC6 and Depression, JNeurosci (2020). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3033-19.2020
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: Structural protein may be new marker of depression (2020, April 13) retrieved 22 October 2020 from
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