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Neural Protein KIBRA Linked to Memory Performance

Common polymorphism associated with better short-term recall

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that the neural protein KIBRA should be added to the many genes known to control human memory performance, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of Science. A common single-nucleotide polymorphism in the gene for KIBRA is associated with a 19 to 24 percent improvement in memory recall tests.

In the study, Andreas Papassotiropoulos, M.D., from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and colleagues examined the association of more than 500,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms with memory performance in three independent cohorts of individuals from the United States and Switzerland.

A common T to C substitution within KIBRA was associated with 24 percent better performance in five-minute memory recall tests and 19 percent better recall after 24 hours. In mice, KIBRA was expressed in memory-related brain structures including the hippocampus and temporal lobe, and magnetic resonance imaging showed KIBRA allele-specific differences in hippocampal activation during memory tests.

Recent in vitro studies suggest that KIBRA associates with proteins involved in neural plasticity, memory formation and long-term potentiation, the authors note.

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