Social amoeba sheds light on communication in human brain

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that the popular sedative Valium has similar effects on the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum as it does in humans. Their surprising finding that Valium, as well as a "natural Valium" molecule found in human brains, causes the social amoeba to enter a dormant or "sleep" phase, may provide new insights into how cells in higher organisms, including humans, communicate with each other.

The study, published this week in the early on-line edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and to appear in the print edition of PNAS May 24th, describes the discovery of a short protein, or peptide, known as SDF-2, that neighboring cells of Dictyostelium use to synchronize the formation of spores--the dormant phase of the organism. The researchers were surprised to find that SDF-2 is similar to a "natural Valium" peptide--called DBI--that is found in human brains. Both DBI and Valium cause Dictyostelium to form spores.

"It was amusing to discover that Valium puts Dictyostelium to sleep and Valium puts humans to sleep," said William Loomis, a professor of biology at UCSD, who led the study. "But more significantly, our findings confirm that Dictyostelium is an excellent experimental system for studying aspects of communication between cells that are not easily amenable to study in complex multicellular organisms."

Loomis and Christophe Anjard, an assistant project scientist in Loomis' laboratory, and first author on the paper, also speculate that spore formation in Dictyostelium might provide a rapid way to screen for new drugs that mimic the anti-anxiety effects of Valium in humans.

"Both DBI and Valium induce spore formation in Dictyostelium, and flumazenil, a drug that inhibits the effects of Valium in humans, inhibits spore formation," explained Anjard. "Using Dictyostelium to screen for drugs that function like Valium would be very cheap and could identif

Contact: Sherry Seethaler
858 534-4656
University of California - San Diego

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Social tolerance allows bonobos to outperform chimpanzees on a cooperative task
2. Social imitation in neonatal monkeys
3. Social factors not hormones cause PMS, post-natal depression and menopausal stress
4. NIH Celebrates a Decade of Discovery in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
5. Sociality of sweat bees evolved simultaneously during climate change
6. Social stress in mice is controlled by genetic pathway, researchers find
7. Social learning in noncolonial insects?
8. Social stress boosts immune systems flu-fighting abilities
9. Institute for OneWorld Health awarded Skoll Foundations Social Entrepreneurship Award
10. Immunity in social amoeba suggests ancient beginnings
11. Silence of the amoebae

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/5/2020)... ... August 05, 2020 , ... Regenative Labs has received approval ... CoreText™ and ProText™, making them the first Wharton’s jelly allografts to be assigned a ... The company’s solutions are the first Wharton’s jelly allograft product to be recognized as ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... BioFactura, Inc. today announced ... the Joint Science & Technology Office—Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD) of the Department ... scale-up a highly efficient mammalian cell culture-based bioprocess suitable to meet surge requirement ...
(Date:7/22/2020)... ... 21, 2020 , ... USDM Life Sciences , a ... a new solution to manage regulated workloads on Microsoft Azure. , Regulated biotechnology, ... complies with FDA and global regulations. USDM's new managed service for regulated workloads ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/3/2020)... ... August 03, 2020 , ... ERT, the global ... has been named one of the 100 most inspiring individuals in the life-sciences ... are selected based on how they have inspired their colleagues and affected positive ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... the launch of its new tagline, “BUILDING FOR LIFE.” The adoption of this ... around the globe, requiring fast track capacity to provide patients with urgently needed ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SOMERSET, N.J (PRWEB) , ... ... ... a leading genome editing company, and Catalent, the leading global provider of advanced ... and consumer health products, today announced that they have entered into a strategic ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... ... sciences industry, today announced the release of its signature product called Beacon ... Liaisons (MSLs) and other field medical professionals. , Beacon helps MSLs ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: