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Novel mechanism involved in memory discovered

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham report the discovery of a novel mechanism in the brain involved in the formation of memory and learning. In findings reported online this week in Nature, the research team describes the role of a histone subunit known as H2A.Z.

The discovery could have therapeutic ramifications for conditions including dementia, age-related memory loss or even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Histones are proteins that help regulate 24-hour memory formation in the hippocampus as well as longer memory formation in the cortex. The UAB study of the subunit H2A.Z in mice was the first done in a complex mammalian model. Previous studies had been done only in simple cells such as yeast.

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