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Metabolic Regulation of Neural Functions

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  • 최고관리자
  • 2017-09-12


[2017 Fall Life Sciences & IBB  Seminar]

▶Subject: Metabolic Regulation of Neural Functions

▶Speaker: Prof. Kaveh Ashrafi (University of California, San Francisco)
▶Date: 4:30PM/Sep. 15 (Fri)/2017
▶Place: Life Science Bldg. #104
▶Abctract: Metabolism, aging, and neural dysfunctions are tightly intertwined. A well-recognized but poorly understood connection between metabolism and several neurodegenerative disorders is provided by the kynurenine pathway, the degradation pathway of the essential amino acid tryptophan. The kynurenine pathway generates several metabolites with signaling activities in mammals, however, the physiological functions of kynurenine pathway metabolites remain poorly understood. In the course of studying C. elegans feeding regulatory pathways, we discovered that a specific metabolite of the kynurenine pathway, kynurenic acid, serves as one endogenous gauge of food availability that ultimately regulates feeding via serotonin signaling. Moreover, we have found that kynurenic acid levels account for the beneficial effects of dietary restriction on learning. This is because, in C. elegans as in mammals, kynurenic acid functions as a competitive antagonist of N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDARs), which have been implicated in molecular mechanisms of learning and memory in numerous species. Importantly, kynurenic acid levels do not alter lifespan in any of the conditions tested but do account, at least in part, for the decline in learning capacity as animals age. Together, our findings reveal that kynurenic acid functions as a specific mechanism that links metabolism to various neural functions.

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