Protein affects… memory muscle?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Our brain is made up of billions of tiny cells called neurons. These neurons can talk to each other in a network of chemicals and electrical signals. The more connections they make with each other, the easier the brain can think and remember. Research from Johns Hopkins University has revealed that a protein called AGAP3 is responsible for making memory better or worse.

Proteins are responsible for carrying out many functions in the human body. What’s probably their most well-known job is building up muscles in the body. Well, according to the study, they also play an important role in building memories. The protein AGAP3 basically has two functions – making learning easier and making learning harder! Wait, what’s the point of doing opposite things?

The researchers claim that this protein acts as a stimulation regulator. Too much stimulation can be dangerous for the brain, but just the right amount is good for memory. AGAP3 provides a balance between both. Further study of the brain’s circuitry, especially AGAP3, could very well lead to breakthroughs in fighting illnesses like Alzheimer’s that damage our ability to remember.