London: Offering hope to Parkinson`s and Alzheimer`s victims, scientists have identified key molecules that can convert short-term memories into long-term ones and can be a target for memory-enhancing drugs. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have taken a major step towards understanding how human long-term memories are formed. The study focused on a group of proteins called nuclear receptors which have been implicated in the regulation of a variety of biological functions, including memory formation, the Daily Mail reported. Nuclear receptors are a kind of transcription factor, proteins that can bind to DNA and regulate the activity of other genes. Their regulatory role may be significant in memory formation, as gene transcription is required to turn short-term memories into long-lasting ones by strengthening neuronal synapses in the brain. The team trained mice using a common method to create memories of a place and event, in which animals learn to associate a particular context or a certain tone with a specific experience.
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