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Proteins In Our Memory Were Discovered To Come From Viruses

Research on memory and memory continues. Scientists, in their recent studies, revealed that a protein produced by our brain behaves like a virus and infects cells with memories.

Jason Shepherd, an assistant professor, and neurobiologist at Utah Medical School decided to examine the role of viruses and bacteria in the evolution of living things and the transformation of them into complex living things. According to the results of the research, viruses and bacteria have played important roles in the evolution of humans and even have the potential to help in the treatment of certain brain diseases.

Shepherd’s work explores how our brains encode and store information, and then analyze it, and how the learning process works. Neurons in our brains do not normally contact each other, there is a space called synapse between them. Various activities can shape this synapse mobility. The star of Shepherd’s work was the protein “activity-regulating cell skeleton.” Shepherd and his team say this DNA protein is important to memory formation. These non-protein mice are suffering from both short and long term memory.


In short, the activity-regulated cell skeleton, called Arc, behaves much differently than normal proteins. This structure, which was discovered in the 90s, does not occur in the cell but in synaptic activity. In addition, unlike other proteins, Arc has its own RNA.

The researcher focused his studies on this structure due to Arc’s differences and its connection with memory, and when he examined Arc with an electron microscope, he revealed that his structure resembled HIV. Viruses called retroviruses, such as HIV, have mechanisms to synthesize their RNAs. Therefore, they attach to a cell and attach their own genetic material to the genome of the cell. The capsule used herein ensures that the structure contained by the virus is not damaged during the transition between cells. A similar situation applies to the Arc protein. It was unheard of that such a structure was created by human proteins.

Arc can also transmit information from one neuron, just as viruses carry genetic information, from neuron to neuron, and transmits information to the other neuron’s RNA.


Arc structure is found in humans, birds, and mice. The question of what such a structure is doing in multicellular complex organisms has yet to be answered. Due to the lack of fish in the structure of this structure to infect 350-400 million years, and then become a part of the genome, then became a part of the genome has achieved a new purpose.

Like many scientific discoveries, this discovery caused more questions than it answered. Nevertheless, the findings, studies on viruses and Alzheimer’s disease and brain-related diseases are seen as an important tool in the treatment.

The researcher suggests that there are at least 50 structures that work similarly in the human body.

Proteins In Our Memory Were Discovered To Come From Viruses
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