Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used a novel approach in neurobiology to understand how crucial receptors in brain neurons, called AMPA receptors, communicate with other neurons to form memory. Dr. Pam England says they used a combination of pharmacology and using light to irreversibly inactivate receptors.
England : We inactivated them on certain parts of the cell, so in that way we could now measure how long does it take for new receptors to get to that part of the cell. The molecule we made is a molecule that will bind to the receptor and when you shine light on the molecule bound to the receptor, it forms an irreversible bond with the receptor and inactivates it. We were the first ones to make that type of molecule for an AMPA receptor.
Narrator: The study offers a basic understanding of how these receptors move.
England : That doesn't directly tell us how to improve memory, but it's fine tuning exactly what the targets should be for pharmaceutical industry that could treat memory disorders.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.