Of mice and memories

Published: Sunday 15 February 1998

A single molecule helps mice recall terrifying experiences, say European scientists. Mice that lack this protein quickly forget frightening events that normal mice can remember for days. Ricardo Brambilla and Rudiger Klein of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, bred mice with a specific memory problem by disrupting a single gene that makes a protein called Ras-GRF. Found in the developing brain, the protein is thought to transmit signals that regulate cell division. Brains of mice lacking this protein appear perfectly normal except in their inability to recall events that scared them. The team now plans to find out the biochemical functions of Ras-GRF (New Scientist , Vol 156, No 2109).

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