Queensland scientists identify molecule that links both sides of the brain

May 24, 2006

A Queensland Brain Institute-led team has identified a molecule that plays a key role in establishing the major nerve connections between each side of the adult brain.

QBI neural migration laboratory head Associate Professor Helen Cooper said her group's research provided new clues regarding development of the corpus callosum, the main connecting nerve tract that shuttles information between the left and right hemispheres of the adult brain.

Using a mouse model, neuroscientists at The University of Queensland - working with Associate Professor Steven Stacker and his team at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne - have identified a molecule that helps control development of the corpus callosum.

The corpus callosum has millions of individual nerve fibres. If these fibres fail to reach their correct targets in the opposite hemisphere, people can suffer from epilepsy, and experience some degree of mental retardation.

"Our study is the first to identify a growth molecule that guides young nerves away from the corpus callosum and towards their targets in the opposite hemisphere," Dr Cooper said.

"We have shown that the Ryk receptor molecule facilitates the targeting of individual nerve fibres.

"This process is critical for the transmission of sensory information effectively throughout the adult brain."

These findings are expected to have long-term implications for development of treatments for several forms of mental impairment and epilepsy.

A QBI-led scientific paper outlining functions of the Ryk receptor molecule is published in the May 24 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

QBI has been studying a variety of molecular guidance systems which play pivotal roles in the guidance of nerve fibres and newly born neurons throughout the developing central nervous system.
-end-
Established in 2003, QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.

QBI was formed as part of the Queensland Government's Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland.

Media: Queensland Brain Institute: Associate Professor Helen Cooper +61 733 653 155; Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research: Associate Professor Steven Stacker +61 393 413 130; and QBI media liaison: Ron Hohenhaus +61 403 601 066

Research Australia

Related Corpus Callosum Articles from Brightsurf:

A malformation illustrates the incredible plasticity of the brain
One in 4,000 people is born without a corpus callosum, a brain structure consisting of neural fibres that are used to transfer information between hemisphere.

A new study on rare 'split brain' patients sheds light on feature of human sleep
A new study of researchers at IMT School for Advanced Study Lucca demonstrates for the first time that the slow waves of NREM-sleep travel and propagate in the brain through ''anatomical highways''.

Schizophrenia related to abnormal fatty metabolism in the brain
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brian Science (CBS) in Japan have discovered a deficiency in the brains of people with schizophrenia that could lead to the development of new drug therapies.

Conservation research on lynx
Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes.

Can brain injury from boxing, MMA be measured?
For boxers and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, is there a safe level of exposure to head trauma?

Corpus luteum cells of cats successfully cultivated and comprehensively characterized
The reproduction of lynxes is highly mysterious. Unlike other wild cats, most lynxes are only receptive for a few days once a year.

Genetic brain disorder fixed in mice using precision epigenome editing
Using a targeted gene epigenome editing approach in the developing mouse brain, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers reversed one gene mutation that leads to the genetic disorder WAGR syndrome, which causes intellectual disability and obesity in people.

How playing the drums changes the brain
People who play drums regularly for years differ from unmusical people in their brain structure and function.

Concussion alters how information is transmitted within the brain
Damage from concussion alters the way information is transmitted between the 2 halves of the brain, according to a new study.

Prenatal exposure to pollution linked to brain changes related to behavioral problems
A new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center supported by 'la Caixa', has found a link between air pollution and changes in the corpus callosum, a region of the brain associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Read More: Corpus Callosum News and Corpus Callosum Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.