Altered protein makes mice smarter | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News in Brief

Altered protein makes mice smarter

Genetic tweak hints at possible treatments for Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia

By
3:25pm, August 24, 2015

By tweaking a single gene, scientists have turned average mice into supersmart daredevils. The findings are preliminary but hint at therapies that may one day ease the symptoms of such disorders as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, scientists report August 14 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

The altered gene provides instructions for a protein called phosphodiesterase-4B, or PDE4B, which has been implicated in schizophrenia. It’s too early to say whether PDE4B will turn out to be a useful target for drugs that treat these disorders, cautions pharmacologist Ernesto Fedele of the University of Genoa in Italy. Nonetheless, the protein certainly deserves further investigation, he says.

The genetic change interfered with PDE4B’s ability to do its job breaking down a molecular messenger called cAMP. Mice designed to have this disabled form of PDE4B showed a suite of

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content