Memory formation is dependent on a protein which might be viral in origin
Memory formation is dependent on a protein which might be viral in origin
How memory is stored is an ever enigmatic question which has been fascinating neuroscientists for many years. The endogenous protein ‘Arc’ encoded by the neurons has been known to induce plasticity (permanent neuronal structural changes) necessary for encoding memory. However, researchers from University of Utah recently discovered that Arc is released from neurons in the extracellular vesicles which then lead to transfer of Arc mRNA in neighboring neurons. None of the other non-viral proteins is known to act like this which might give the possibility that Arc is viral in origin and got incorporated with the human genome during evolution. This is exciting to know since a chance interaction millions of years ago might be the reason why we have memories.

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Scientific article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/