Over 1,000 new brain proteins `discovered`

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Scientists claim to have achieved a key breakthrough by identifying over 1,000 "repeat offender" brain proteins responsible for at least 130 conditions ranging from Alzheimer`s disease to autism.

A British team has claimed that faults in these 1,000
proteins are key to elusive synapse junctions between nerve
cells in brain, a finding which could speed the development of
new drugs for degenerative and psychiatric illnesses.

It also means that a magic bullet-type drug could be
created to treat several illnesses, a newspaper reported.

Team leader Professor Seth Grant, a neuroscientist
at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, near Cambridge, said,
"There is a potential gold-rush, a whole new frontier for drug

In fact, the excitement centres around synapses, the
"junction boxes" that connect nerve cells in the brain and are
key to transmitting and processing information.

By studying tiny slivers of tissue taken from the
brain, Prof Grant and his colleagues at Edinburgh University
identified 1,461 synapse proteins, and then linked them to
conditions ranging from Alzheimer`s and Parkinson`s disease,
to autism, learning difficulties and addiction.