SEOUL, May 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Domestic researchers successfully investigated the functioning process of a protein named Down Syndrome Critical Region 1 (DSCR1), one of the known causes of Down syndrome.
The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) revealed on May 23 its discovery that protein DSCR1 advances the axis cylinder process of the brain’s nerve cells, and functions as a guidance for the biological process.
Axis cylinders are the parts of the brain’s nerve cells that protrude as strands, and play the role of connecting with other nerve cells. Axis cylinders spin in search of other nerve cells to connect to, but cannot properly fulfill their function if they spin too much or too little.
The research team led by professor Kyung Tae Min at the Department of Life Sciences conducted its study on mice and found that mice that lacked the gene for protein DSCR1 showed decreased development of axis cylinders, and that the spinning capacity of their terminal axis cylinders, essential for the network formation of nerve cells, was found to have disappeared altogether.
On the other hand, mice with excess expression of the gene for protein DSCR1 showed extraneous development of nerve cells’ axis cylinders, with much higher spinning capability than average nerve cells.
The research team further explained that Down syndrome seemed to occur the most when this gene was markedly abundant, and also discovered an interactive relationship between the gene for protein DSCR1 and genes of proteins that cause other mental disabilities.
“Our research results will help find the common cause of mental disabilities and also provide the foundation for understanding mental disabilities such as Down syndrome,” said a researcher. The research results were published in ‘Journal of Cell Biology’, a world renowned academic journal in the field of cell biology.
By Esther J. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)