Prion-Like Protein Controls Long-term Memories

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posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 02:29 PM
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Prions can be notoriously destructive, spurring proteins to misfold and interfere with cellular function as they spread without control. New research, published in the open access journal PLOS Biology, from scientists at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research reveals that certain prion-like proteins, however, can be precisely controlled so that they are generated only in a specific time and place. These prion-like proteins are not involved in disease processes; rather, they are essential for creating and maintaining long-term memories.


Protein Controls Formation of Long-term Memories

A lot of irresponsible reporting says memory is genetic, but the science says it's epigenetic. Unfortunately, even researchers have been known to refer to the gene product (the protein) as the gene (DNA). Now, astounding new research sets the record straight: proteins create long-term memories, and some act like prions.

How cool is that? The much-maligned disease-causing prion is responsible for us having memories. Who'da thunk it?

Take home message?

Don't mess with your prions!


You never know which ones are good for you.


MORE:


To Create Long-Term Memories, Our Brains Must Properly Synchronize Prion-Like Proteins

Scientists have identified the proteins essential for creating and maintaining long-term memories. Moreover, they have discovered some act in a manner similar to prions while others function as regulators.


Researchers identify protein that initiates the formation of stable, long-term memories

…"This protein is not toxic; it's important for memory to persist," says Stowers researcher Kausik Si, who led the study. To ensure that long-lasting memories are created only in the appropriate neural circuits, Si explains, the protein must be tightly regulated so that it adopts its prion-like form only in response to specific stimuli. He and his colleagues report on the biochemical changes that make that precision possible.



edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)
edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: 2nd title change




posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Maybe there is a link to Alzheimers and these memory proteins?

If they act like Prions and are needed to store and maintain memory...perhaps the control mechanism that makes the protein beneficial as opposed to damaging is being interfered with, causing the protein to become more like it's more damaging Prion cousin and actually start to eat away at the brain instead of maintaining memory?

Interesting.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 02:47 PM
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reply to post by MysterX
 


Maybe there is a link to Alzheimers and these memory proteins?


No (this is not the protein called the "prion protein"), it's a different one, but the (mis)folding process is similar. The important point is that prions are not always harmful - and even when they do cause disease, they may also confer benefits (the same way the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia also confers immunity to malaria). The prion story is complex and getting more complicated every day. Only one thing is certain where prions are concerned: every biology text and curriculum needs to be revised, from grade school on up.








edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: add info for clarity
edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: typo



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 03:05 PM
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For those who don't know, this is paradigm-shifting, game-changing, knock-your-socks-off real news.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Thanks for the explanation soficrow, i'm afraid i'm way out of my knowledge comfort zone where Prions and proteins are concerned, and readily confess to knowing almost nothing about them at all.


edit on 12-2-2014 by MysterX because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by MysterX
 


If it makes you feel any better, I was just about to jump to exactly the same conclusion as you!


Really, really interesting post soficrow, looks like I have a lot of reading to do.
Could this indicate that damaged memory could be 'restored' at a later date, or is that a particularly stupid question?



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Have you ever heard Bruce Lipton Ph.D. ? He's been talking about protein formation and memory for a long time, He feels that consciousness resides in the interconnectivity between organisms, and that the way the proteins form is what carries much of our heritage, the interaction with the environment changes the protein formation, so to find a prion doing it doesn't surprise me. Once I found that we have more bacteria in our body than we do our own human cells my appreciation for the symbiosis of our existence increased dramatically.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 06:44 PM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


Could this indicate that damaged memory could be 'restored' at a later date ...?


I would think so but am not sure. Thing about the brain is, it's constantly changing and evolving - we just need to keep using it to keep it working - which it has been proven to do even when it's eaten full of holes. It just keeps building new bridges and pathways. Cool stuff, brain plasticity.

ANOTHER point - prions are more stable than 'normal' proteins so our "memory prions" probably do kick around our skulls for a good long while. Maybe forever. Wonder what happens to them when they 'leave' us?


PS. Thank you.


edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: typo
edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)
edit on 12/2/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by zardust
 


Have you ever heard Bruce Lipton Ph.D. ? He's been talking about protein formation and memory for a long time, He feels that consciousness resides in the interconnectivity between organisms, and that the way the proteins form is what carries much of our heritage, the interaction with the environment changes the protein formation, so to find a prion doing it doesn't surprise me. Once I found that we have more bacteria in our body than we do our own human cells my appreciation for the symbiosis of our existence increased dramatically.


No, I haven't heard of Lipton but I need to look him up - I've been saying much the same things for some time - even criticized Lovelock for not extending his Gaia Principle to encompass prions (in my mind, an obvious mechanism of at least physical "connectivity").



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 07:51 AM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


And stupid question number 2, if you don't mind: are they only found in the brain? I'm thinking about therapists like Babette Rothschild who postulate that memories are held in the body, and can be triggered when we assume certain specific physical positions - like praying perhaps, or maybe the victim of assault, crouching. With new research indicating that we have a 'heart' brain and a 'gut' brain (similar cells found in each), I'm starting to re-read her work more intently. I'm wondering if these proteins are found elsewhere?



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 09:25 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


You may be interested in James DeMeo Ph. D. He has a grand theory about pagan religions, in line with your thread "Deciphering the Pagan Stones".

He's also the guy fighting to carry on the work of Wilhelm Reich. Reich claims to have discovered Orgone, which is an energy that envelops all life. He believed that emotional traumas that are suppressed are stored in the muscle. I think, I'm not an expert, but it sounds like what you were saying.

Also since this is in conspiracies, the case of Wilhelm Reich, it is well documented that the FDA banned and burned all his books.



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 09:32 AM
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zardust
reply to post by beansidhe
 


You may be interested in James DeMeo Ph. D. He has a grand theory about pagan religions, in line with your thread "Deciphering the Pagan Stones".

He's also the guy fighting to carry on the work of Wilhelm Reich. Reich claims to have discovered Orgone, which is an energy that envelops all life. He believed that emotional traumas that are suppressed are stored in the muscle. I think, I'm not an expert, but it sounds like what you were saying.

Also since this is in conspiracies, the case of Wilhelm Reich, it is well documented that the FDA banned and burned all his books.


Hi zardust! Thank you very much, I'm going to check out both of those authors asap. I don't think Babette is saying muscle specifically, but yes, I know what you mean and that is what I was suggesting.
Anything banned by the FDA must be considered worthy, in my opinion, and I'll look into Reich!
James DeMeo sounds intriguing, I'm going to have a look on amazon.
Hope all is well

B x

ETA -aah, I see why they banned him!
edit on 14-2-2014 by beansidhe because: Just been to Amazon.



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


And stupid question number 2, if you don't mind: are they only found in the brain? I'm thinking about therapists like Babette Rothschild who postulate that memories are held in the body, and can be triggered when we assume certain specific physical positions - like praying perhaps, or maybe the victim of assault, crouching. With new research indicating that we have a 'heart' brain and a 'gut' brain (similar cells found in each), I'm starting to re-read her work more intently. I'm wondering if these proteins are found elsewhere?


EXCELLENT questions. S&
Given that the research is new and focused on the brain, I doubt the researchers have looked outside the brain yet. I'm familiar with the "Second Brain" theory, showing the neural connections between the gut and brain - and it all makes sense to me. Also, there is no doubt cells retain "memories" of injury - so why not health? And - I know that certain body positions release certain feelings or create specific states - but don't know why.

These mysteries are wonderful to contemplate, but I think it's important to maintain awareness about what's entirely speculative, what's proven and what falls where in the middle. One thing we do know for sure now is that the much-maligned prion creates our memories. We also know that a) prions can be inherited, b) both prions and protein molecules persist in the environment, and c) prions are particularly stable - so speculate away!



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 10:43 AM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Thanks soficrow!
It is very speculative, agreed, but...! It's a tempting leap to make.
A million thanks for bringing this to my attention, this is an area I am really interested in and excited about



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 09:09 PM
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Now covered by Scientific American too - Prions Are Key to Preserving Long-term Memories.



posted on Feb, 19 2014 @ 09:56 AM
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From a new science blog:



Prions Are Key to Preserving Long Term Memories

February 19, 2014 Prions can be notoriously destructive, spurring proteins to misfold and interfere with cellular function as they spread without control. New research, published in the open access journal PLOS Biology on February 11 2014, from scientists at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research reveals that certain prion-like proteins, however, can be precisely controlled so that they are generated only in a specific time and place. These prion-like proteins are not involved in disease processes; rather, they are essential for creating and maintaining long-term memories.



posted on Feb, 19 2014 @ 08:44 PM
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And a salute from TheScientist.


Prions Important for Memories

The formation of long term memories employs the chain-forming habits of prions.

Most often associated with mad cow and other infectious diseases, prions have a bright side to them, too. A role for prions as memory-forming helpers is emerging, most recently supported by a study this month (February 11) in PLOS Biology revealing the proteins involved in regulating chain-forming prions in neurons.







posted on Feb, 25 2014 @ 05:06 AM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Maybe this is the wrong thread, but I wanted you to see this:

Cooking meat increases risk of dementia

B x



posted on Feb, 25 2014 @ 08:48 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


Thanks beansidhe. ...That link is about the old "Charring, barbecuing and browning create bad chemicals." Guess someone decided to own up and admit they're actually prions. lol.

Seems we got good prions and bad prions, and some what don't do much. Kina like life, innit?







....I'm amused when I speak in the vernacular. Hope it strikes others in a similar fashion.





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