Scientists have succeeded in transplanting memory in snails
Memory transfer is a common motif in science-fiction films. But the achievements of scientists from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) are a reality. The researchers managed to transfer memory from one sea slug to another. This was accomplished by transferring a form of genetic information called RNA.
Researchers have been studying sea snails for years Aplysia and already know a lot about them. Many organismsoin the sea functions in the same wayob like mammals, except that the processes thatore keep them alive, they are just less complex. Sea snails are no exception – their nerves transmit impulses just as ours do.
This research may lead to new ways tooIn treating trauma and painful memories and restoringocation of lost memories. – I think that in the not too distant future we could potentially use RNA to mitigate the effects of theoin Alzheimer’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder – said Professor David Glanzman of UCLA, author of the study published in the journal „eNeuro”.
RNA a.k.a. ribonucleic acid is widely known as a transmitter of comorkowy, whichory produces proteins and carries out DNA instructions to other parts of the comorki. It also has many other important functions depending on the sequence of nucleotideoin, with ktor which molecules are built.
During the study, the researchers subjected one group of snailsoin marine mild electric shocks. The snails received five shocksow – one every 20 minutes, followed by five more every 24 hours poź later. The shocks were designed to improve reflexoin the defense of the snail. When the researchers had already applied the shockow touched the cochleaow found that those whoore treated with electricity, they responded with a defensive contraction lasting an average of 50 seconds. In contrast, those thatore were not subjected to shock therapy, they responded by contracting only for about one second.
Researchers have extracted RNA from the nervous system of a snailoIn the aftermath of electric shocks on the next day after the second series of shocksow. They applied the same treatment to the snailow, whichore were not subjected to electrical shocks. Subsequently extracted RNA from the first group of snailsow were injected into seven sea snails thatore did not receive any shocksow. RNA from the second group was injected into a control group of seven other snailsow, whichore row also received no shocksow.
Scientists have discovered that seven cochleaoin, whichore received RNA from shocked colleaguesow, behaved as if they received shocks themselves. The defensive contraction lasted on average 40 seconds in them. – It was as if we transferred their memory – said Glanzman. As expected, the snail control groupow did not exhibit a long defensive response time.
RNA extracted from cochleaow after the shocks were roalso tested in a different wayob. On petri dishes containing neurons extracted from the rosensory neurons of the cochleaow, whichore did not receive a shockow, added RNA wormow, ktore were subjected to electric shocks. Someore dishes contained sensory neurons, while others contained motor neurons, whichore in the cochlea are responsible for the defense reflex.
Sensory neurons of the cochleaow, ktore received shocks became more excitable. Interestingly, the researchers found that adding RNA extracted from the snail’sow subjected to shocks, roIt also increased the excitability of neuronoIn sensory neurons on a Petri dish. RNA snailoin those not subjected to shocks did not increase neuron excitabilityow.
Memories are believed to be stored in synapses. Each neuron has several thousand of them. Glanzman, however, has a different view. Believes memories are stored in the nucleus accumbens of the neuronow. – If memories were stored in synapses, there would be no way for our experiment to work, Glanzman admitted.
The processes of comork and molecular in humans and cochleaoIn the sea, they appear to be very similar, even though the snail has about 20,000 neuronsoin the central nervous system, and humans have about 100 billion of themow.
UCLA researchers believe that in the future their research could be used to restore memories dormant in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They could roalso pomoc people suffering from the syndromeoł post-traumatic stress. There are many kinds ofointo RNA, and in future studies Glanzman wants to identify those RNAs thatore can be used to transfer memories.