Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Insights into Alzheimer's Bogged Down Brain

Tracking Fyn protein through brain cells - implications for memory formation and dementia

28 November 2022

Bogged Down Brain

A large group of walkers striding down a country path will bunch up into a jammed cluster when they hit a very muddy patch. The same, it seems, happens to a protein, Fyn, involved in memory formation in the brain, and when it gets jammed up it can contribute to dementia. Researchers tracked the movement of Fyn through brain cells (their trajectory map through neurons pictured) and saw that they unfurl to slow down, like opening a tiny parachute, when they help form memories. But if they don’t pack up and move on afterwards, the clusters they form cause problems. The study found when another protein, Tau, is disturbed it produces gel-like droplets which trap Fyn in place, accentuating their clustering to a damaging degree. Targeting these droplets could help treat or prevent dementia, and stop Fyn getting stuck in the mud.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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