Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded approximately $2.3 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the processes involved in long-term memory and how deficits in those processes contribute to brain diseases.
Sathyanarayananan Puthanveettil, a TSRI assistant professor, will be principal investigator of the new five-year study.
The study focuses on "axonal transport," the cellular process whereby gene products move to and from a nerve cell body along its axon, the narrow, cable-like structure critical for signaling other nerve cells, muscles and glands.
"This new grant will help us better understand the role of axonal transport in long-term memory storage and identify signaling pathways that regulate it," Puthanveettil said. "Once we identify the molecular regulators of axonal transport, we may be able to manipulate them to produce new and innovative approaches to the treatment of memory disorders."
In earlier studies, Puthanveettil and his colleagues have shown that kinesin, a molecular motor protein, plays a key role in learning and memory.