How do you hold onto the memory of, say, your first kiss for years to come? With the help of prion proteins. While pathogenic prions are behind ailments like mad cow disease and kuru, recent studies published in Neuron and Cell Reports elaborate on the role functional prions play in maintaining long-term memories. The researchers behind the four papers all hail from Eric Kandel’s lab at Columbia University Medical Center. The Nobel Laureate returns to Science Friday to explain what we know about the role these kinds of proteins play in the upkeep of our most persistent memories.
Produced by Becky Fogel, Production Assistant