Tag: Nervous System

Study reveals connection between genetic and environmental causes of Parkinson’s disease

February 1, 2009

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have found that a single gene, known as PARK9, protects cells from manganese toxicity and rescues neurons from over-expression of the protein alpha-synuclein. Misfolded alpha-synuclein is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

New clue emerges for cellular damage in Huntington’s disease

November 17, 2008

Huntington’s disease is caused by misfolded and clumped proteins that interfere with the cell’s protein quality control, which may lead to cellular toxicity and eventually cell death.

Slide of a rat's brain that had a dopamine neuron transplantation

Reprogrammed cells reduce Parkinson's symptoms in rats

April 7, 2008

Dopamine-producing neurons transplanted into adult rat brains treat behavioral symptoms related to low dopamine levels.

Image of yeast cells epxressing alpha-synuclein

Researchers reverse Parkinson's symptoms in animal models

June 22, 2006

They repaired a key biological pathway, restoring normal neurological function.

The biology of behavior

June 9, 2004

The human body is assaulted by hundreds of thousands of stimuli every day. Sights: A car is coming down the street, so you step out of the way. Sounds: Someone calls your name and you answer. Touch: A glossy magazine arrives in your mailbox and you thumb through its pages.

Amyloid fibers exposed to Hsp104

Researchers discover protein that dissolves amyloid fibers

May 20, 2004

Amyloid fibers, those clumps of plaque-like proteins that clog up the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, have perplexed scientists with their robust structures. In laboratory experiments, they are able to withstand extreme heat and cold and powerful detergents that cripple most other proteins.

Study confirms Rett syndrome begins in neurons

April 21, 2004

Scientists have known for some time that mutations in a gene named MeCP2 lead to Rett syndrome, a major cause of mental retardation in girls. Now, a Whitehead Institute research team has provided evidence for the long accepted, but previously unproven theory that Rett syndrome is caused by loss of MeCP2 exclusively in neurons.

Study examines how cells tell each other apart

March 24, 2004

The idea of self vs. nonself may sound more like an existential identity crisis than a question in cellular biology. But to Whitehead Institute Associate Member Andrew Chess, the concept could offer information about how cells tell each other apart, a cellular self-awareness that ensures the correct wiring of neurons in the brain.

“Mad Cow” Mechanism May Be Integral to Storing Memory

December 24, 2003

Scientists have discovered a new process for how memories might be stored, a finding that could help explain one of the least-understood activities of the brain.

Yeast Helps Researchers Better Understand Parkinson's Mystery

December 4, 2003

Scientists know that in patients with Parkinson’s disease, certain proteins in the brain form clusters that somehow contribute to cell death and, eventually, lead to the onset of the disease’s debilitating symptoms. Whitehead scientists have succeeded in duplicating the disease’s most critical features in the most readily manipulated model organism in existence.

Lindquist Lab Sheds Light on How Prion Proteins Kill Neurons

October 17, 2002

Prion diseases—such as mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans—have stumped scientists for decades with a complex "whodunit" complete with many suspects and a missing murder weapon. Unlike other infectious diseases that are linked to pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, these diseases have a unique and mysterious connection to a misfolded protein.

Novel Assay Provides Researchers a Key Tool to Study Nervous System Development

June 6, 1996

For the first time, scientists have isolated embryonic tissue from zebrafish and successfully grown the tissue in culture. This assay will offer scientists a long-sought and powerful research tool, allowing them to study early development in ways that are not possible with other model organisms like frogs, mice, or chicks. Using this culture, the scientists also found key genes involved in the formation of the zebrafish nervous system.

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