Some of the genes that allow nerve cells and some other types of cells to send elaborate chemical messages to each other appear to have been transferred to animals or their immediate ancestors from bacteria eons ago, according to a study by researchers from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both part of the National Institutes of Health.
Specifically, the genes contain the information needed to make enzymes, which, in turn are crucial for making the complex molecules that cells use to communicate with each other. These cell-signaling molecules play a role in learning, memory, mental alertness, sleep patterns, and allergic responses.
The study was published on the web at Science Direct and will appear in the July issue of Trends in Genetics.
Robert Bock or
Marianne Glass Duffy
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