Building Blocks: The Power of Proteins

By Lacy Schley
May 9, 2017 5:00 PMNov 21, 2019 7:01 PM
lab mouse shutterstock 556378909
(Credit: Shutterstock)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

New work in Nature Neuroscience offers some promise for understanding cocaine addiction. Researchers genetically engineered mice to produce cadherin, a protein involved in learning that helps strengthen the brain’s neural connections. The mice cranked out this protein in their reward circuits, a brain area that drives us to seek pleasure-inducing experiences and a key component in addiction. After introducing the cadherin-laden mice to cocaine multiple times, experts expected the rodents to crave the drug. Instead, the critters carried on without interest: The excess protein actually clogged their reward center circuitry, preventing the mice from getting hooked. The results point to the importance of biochemistry in addiction.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.