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Cellular killer also important to memory

unbound, activated caspase-3 peaks about 10 minutes after the birds hear the new songs.

Other research has added to the evidence that caspase-3 is essential to memory formation. Caspase-3 inhibitors injected into rat brains interfere with the animals' spatial memory and active avoidance learning.

Caspase-3's dual role as a cell killer and memory builder has long intrigued Huesmann, the lead author of the study. "Is it Memory or Is It Death? Caspase-3 and Memory Formation," was his dissertation title. Huesmann has a doctorate in neuroscience and is completing a medical degree at Illinois.

"Graham had this intuition that growth and memory is really a kind of remodeling," said Clayton, who is a professor of cell and structural biology. "You can't have growth without death."


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
21-Dec-2006


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