A new protein identified as critical to insulating the wiring that connects the brain and body could one day be a treatment target for divergent diseases, from rare ones that lower the pain threshold to cancer, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.
They report this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition that in the peripheral nervous system that controls arms and legs, the protein erbin regulates the protein neuregulin 1, stabilizing and interacting with the ErbB2 receptor on Schwann cells so they can make myelin, which insulates the wiring.
Their studies in mice have shown that when erbin is missing or mutated, the insulation is inadequate, slowing communication.
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