The brain’s proteolytic machinery has been found to have a new role in synapses

In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists have revealed fascinating insights into the brain’s protein-destruction machinery and its role in synapses. This discovery has revealed a promising way to address various neurological disorders.

By understanding how this complex system works, researchers can develop targeted therapies that could revolutionize the treatment of these conditions. This new knowledge opens up exciting possibilities in neuroscience and gives hope to people affected by neurological disorders worldwide.

A recent study published in Science shed light on a remarkable discovery regarding the brain’s protein-destroying machinery known as the proteasome. While its primary function is to destroy proteins within the brain, researchers have discovered that a key component of the proteasome, the 19s regulatory particle, has an unexpected secondary role in synapses.

This „moonlighting” activity suggests that proteins in the brain can adapt to new functions in different environments, opening new avenues for diagnosing and treating various neurological disorders. This discovery challenges conventional understanding and highlights the dynamic nature of synapses, providing valuable insights into how the brain responds to different situations.

Scientists have traditionally associated the regulatory (19S) proteasome particle with its role in the proteasome complex, which works with the catalytic (20S) particle to recognize and remove unwanted or damaged proteins. This mechanism is important for the proper functioning and development of the brain. However, researchers made a surprising discovery using a powerful imaging technique called DNA paint.

Within synapses, they found a significant presence of isolated 19S particles that exist independently without the usual 20S partners.

“We realized that 19S is not just a partner of 20S. It also acts alone as an independent regulator of several key synaptic proteins. This revealed a new dimension to our understanding of protein function at synapses. Associate professor and lead author of the article, Chao Sun explains.

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Scientists have discovered that free 19S particles regulate the transmission and storage of information at synapses. These particles usually break down proteins, but they are regenerated in synapses to perform other functions.

More research is needed to fully understand the function of these particles, but the discovery is a promising step toward developing new treatments for neurological diseases.

Journal Note:

  1. Chao Sun, Christina Desch, et al. A large number of free regulations (19S) proteasome particles regulate neuronal synapses. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.adf2018

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