New research could explain unknown causes of epilepsy

Tmep protein can be seen in pink at the neuromuscular block junction, which is depicted in blue. Tmep regulates the frequency of neuronal inflammation. Credit: Martha Bhattacharya

In many cases popilepsy-disorders are normal functioning in the brain and often lead to concussions – many are unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers at the University of Arizona can find information about other types of epilepsy. Their results are published in Neurobiology.

The researchers studied the genes in mice that affect the formation and function of the joints between muscle and neurons, which controls the emotions. They found that when a protein called TMEM184B, found on cell membranes, was absent, neurons appeared to be damaged and shot more frequently, according to study author Tiffany Cho, who specializes in research in UArizona Bhattacharya Lab during the investigation. Cho will begin as a medical student at Liberty University School of Medicine in Virginia in the spring.

The researchers wondered how the nerves and the seemingly damaged can affect the neuron’s ability to burn muscles properly. So, Cho and her future colleagues explored a suitable protein, called Tmep, in fruit flies, which are easier to study in the library. cell level.

“What we found in the fruit of the insect is that the neurons seem to have overgrown the seed for a healthy person,” said study author Martha Bhattacharya, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and director of Lab Bhattacharya. , which investigates the early stages of disease progression. mental health in neurodegenerative diseases.

This suggests that Tmep — and TMEM184B by extension — are responsible for controlling the turbulence of neurons.

“This has to do with what happens to epilepsy sufferers, so we think we were able to identify a specific type of epilepsy that is in some form of epilepsy that has no explanation,” Bhattacharya said.

Researchers think that Tmep can alter the ion channels, which control the amount of calcium in the cell, so the potential neuron will burn.

“When we see cell changes in fruit flies, really makes us wonder if this also controls the balance of ions, for example charging substances such as calcium in neurons because this is a common occurrence with epilepsy. No one has looked at whether this protein controls ion levels until this paper, ”Bhattacharya said.

Bhattacharya has also been linked to doctors who have made a series of changes in the TMEM184B protein in humans.

“One of the things we want to find out is if those mutations, especially those in patients with epilepsy or something related to them, have caused this disturbance that we are seeing,” Bhattacharya said. “We can do that in a money model because we have measuring methods electrical work, and that is what we did in the paper. What we are trying to do is to put those human mutations in the germ cell to see if they cause the same changes in nerve growth. And if they do, then we want to know why. “

The researchers also noted that the larvae without Tmep move more slowly than other insects when they crawl on plates. As a result, they are interested in seeing though protein It may also play a role in some neuromuscular-like disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosisor ALS – in addition to diseases such as epilepsy.

Identify a gene whose overdose and strains inhibit the development of Parkinson’s disease in insects and mice.

Learn more:
Tiffany S. Cho et al, The Putative Drosophila TMEM184B Ortholog Tmep Maintains Straight Locomotion by Preventing Ectopic Shooting at Neuromuscular Junction, Neurobiology (2022). DOI: 10.1007 / s12035-022-02760-3

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University of Arizona

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