Korean Research Team Discovers That Amount of Sugar That Is Attached to Proteins of a Brain Is Related to Cognition Function

Apr 07, 2017

Result of a research that shows that decline of cognition function is related to amount of sugar that is attached to proteins of a brain has come out.
Research team led by Professor Lim Hye-won of KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology) and Professor Seo Pan-kil of UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) made an announcement on the 6th that it discovered the fact that cognition function declines when ‘O-GlcNAc’, which is a sugar molecule, is excessively attached to proteins of a brain through testing on mice.
Process of protein being attached to O-GlcNAc is called ‘O-GlcNAc glycosylation’. Research team had observed behaviors of mutated mice that had had twice much of O-GlcNAc glycosylation than normal mice. It took longer for these mice to learn new information such as finding routes and accuracy of information that they had learned was also low. While strength of connection of neuron that is inside of hippocampus needs to change when learning new information, it was confirmed that this process did not occur for mutated mice. While it was known that O-GlcNAc glycosylation plays an important role in division and multiplication of cells until now, this research has also proven that it is closely related to ability to learn new information.
“Because O-GlcNAc glycosylation can be sensitively controlled depending on concentration of glucose, it implies that current state of nutrition can impact cognition function.” said research team.
This research was carried out by support from Ministry of Science, ICP and Future Planning’s Bio Medical Technology, Neuro-Science Original Technology Development Project, and KIST’s Agency Specific Enterprise and its result was published through an online scientific journal called ‘Scientific Report’ on the 3rd.
Staff Reporter Song, Hyeyoung | hybrid@etnews.com

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