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Drunken worms reveal a genetic basis of alcohol response

roduction of higher levels of the NPR-1 protein in the alcohol-sensitive English worms, which decreased their ability to recover from alcohol exposure. While the researchers do not know the exact function of NPR-1, they do know that it appears to act as a neuronal receptor -- a molecular "socket" in brain cells into which plug proteins that affect signaling between brain cells.

The human relative of NPR-1, Neuropeptide Y (NPY), has been investigated as a potential genetic link to alcoholism but the data have been controversial. If further studies determine that NPY affects alcohol sensitivity, the researchers believe that determining genetic variation in the gene among people "may have direct relevance to our ability to predict susceptibility to alcoholism in humans." Download PDF | More from Neuron


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Contact: Heidi Hardman
hhardman@cell.com
617-397-2879
Cell Press
9-Jun-2004


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