Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease without a cure. It is always fatal. The disease is caused by a defect in the Huntingtin gene. Scientists recently discovered a natural mechanism, which not only suppresses the build-up of pathogenic amyloid fibrils but also disaggregates them.
Where proteins are localized within a cell is crucial to their proper function, especially in cells like neurons. It affects neuronal development and even learning and memory. A research team led by Marina Chekulaeva has for the first time systematically analyzed how this localization comes about. Their article appeared in Nature Communications.
For many obese people gaining weight is a vicious cycle. Scientists at the MDC have now uncovered a contributing factor: genetic variants linked to obesity cause the brain to produce too much of a protein called Cadm1. The result is a disruption in the regulation of body weight and changes in behavior and metabolism, as reported by Matthew Poy and his colleagues in Nature Neuroscience.
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
The calls of new-born mice draw the attention of their mother. A group of neuronal cells in the brain stem, which coordinate exhalation and tension of muscles in the larynx is essential for this process. Without these cells, the mice are mute. These are the results of a study by a research team at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, which appears in the journal PNAS. The cries of human babies may well depend on similar connections, which could also be impaired in speech disorders.
The Berlin-based neuroscientist was named Honorary Doctor by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) on May 2, 2017.
Thomas Willnow analyzes the connections between metabolism and dementia. We asked him why European funding is essential to his research and why he considers it to be risky.
If one looks beyond individual molecules, biology quickly becomes complex. Computer scientist Uwe Ohler are using algorithms and mathematical models to map a path through this tangle of dependencies.
Slightest touch can evoke pain in patients suffering from nerve injuries. Researchers of the MDC now have suppressed this type of neuropathic pain in mice by applying a chemical substance to the skin. The method could work in humans.
In November’s edition of the MDC Lectures, Neurobiologist Botond Roska described how neuronal structures form the basis of the brain’s ability to “compute” sensory stimuli.