You are in a maze of twisty little proteins, all alike

Time magazine has a brief but somewhat intricate article describing the relationship between the synapse and the APC protein.

It has a spectacularly complex and labyrinthine metaphor that doesn’t really help me understand what’s being discussed but is, nonetheless, a joy to read.

Findings by neuroscientists in various Tufts graduate programs—published in the August 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience—show a link between the APC protein and the development, or lack thereof, of something called a synapse.

If a synapse were a traffic intersection, the APC protein would be those annoying bridge tolls that are later used to develop roadways. Only instead of freight and passengers, the vehicles on this highway would carry information between neurons. A lack of tax collection will inhibit the development of the intersection—think potholes and faded, unreadable road signs—so that vehicles won’t be able to cross in the intended and most efficient way. In the same way, APC impairment blocks the synapse maturation that is crucial to the mental processes of learning and using memory.

 

Link to brief Time article (via @stevesilberman).

2 thoughts on “You are in a maze of twisty little proteins, all alike”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s