It’s quite irritating when you try to remember something but you can’t, right? And for some people forgetting stuffs might be alarming and they might suspect there is something wrong with them, but a new discovery says forgetting is an essential process that helps maintain your mental health and well being.
Scientists from the University of Basel have discovered a molecule that helps brain forget unnecessary memory. This molecule called musashi protein is responsible for the function of the synaptic connections of the brain, where information is transferred from one neuron to the next one.
Scientists used olfactory conditioning to study the learning abilities of the genetically modified ringworm species C.elegans that lacked musashi protein. It was observed that mutant ringworms had same learning ability as normal ones but with extended duration of the experiment, it was discovered that the mutants were better able to remember new information than normal ringworms in which musashi was present. The worms lacking musashi protein were less forgetful proving that the protein molecule regulates the forgetfulness.
What this protein does is that it inhibits the synthesis of molecules responsible for the stabilization of synaptic connections, which plays the main role in the process of learning and forgetting .Further experimentation showed the mechanism that influences the whole process of learning and forgetting.
They discovered that a protein ‘Adducin‘ stimulates the growth of synapses and helps retaining the memory while musashi protein actively inhibits the stabilization of these synapses and facilitates memory loss. Thus, it’s the balance between the two that maintains this whole process and scientists further say that disruption of this process may result in serious mental disorders.
The discovery of this protein and memory regulation process will help scientists in development of drugs to prevent memory disorders and memory loss in diseases like Alzheimer’s.