The prion gene is associated with human long-term memory.

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Papassotiropoulos, A; Wollmer, M A; Aguzzi, A; Hock, Christoph; Nitsch, R M; de Quervain, D J F (2005). The prion gene is associated with human long-term memory. Human Molecular Genetics, 14(15):2241-2246.

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Human cognitive processes are highly variable across individuals and are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Although genetic variations affect short-term memory in humans, it is unknown whether genetic variability has also an impact on long-term memory. Because prion-like conformational changes may be involved in the induction of long-lasting synaptic plasticity, we examined the impact of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the prion protein gene (PRNP) on long-term memory in healthy young humans. SNPs in the genomic region of PRNP were associated with better long-term memory performance in two independent populations with different educational background. Among the examined PRNP SNPs, the common Met129Val polymorphism yielded the highest effect size. Twenty-four hours after a word list-learning task, carriers of either the 129MM or the 129MV genotype recalled 17% more information than 129VV carriers, but short-term memory was unaffected. These results suggest a role for the prion protein in the formation of long-term memory in humans.


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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Division of Psychiatric Research and Clinic for Psychogeriatric Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Date:1 August 2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:20
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Publisher DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddi228
PubMed ID:15987701

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