Penn Study: 'GPS System' for Protein Synthesis in Nerve Cells Gives Clues for Understanding Brain Disorders

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania explain how a class of RNA molecules is able to target the genetic building blocks that guide the functioning of a specific part of the nerve cell. Abnormalities at this site are in involved in epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, and cognitive disorders. Their results are published this week in the journal Neuron.

 A team of researchers, led by James Eberwine, PhD, the Elmer Bobst Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine, and Junhyong Kim, PhD, the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, looked at how RNA gets targeted to nerve cell dendrites, which branch from the cell body of the neuron and detect the electrical and chemical signals transmitted by the axons of other neurons. These studies were enabled through the use of sensitive single cell analysis techniques developed in the Eberwine lab.

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