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Problems and prospects in neurochemistry

Sastry, PS (1995) Problems and prospects in neurochemistry. In: Current Science, 68 (2). 134 -136.

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The importance of neurochemistry in understanding the functional basis of the nervous system was emphasized. Attention was drawn to the role of lipids, particularly the sphingolipids,whose metabolic abnormalities lead to 'sphingolipidosis' In the brain and to gangliosides, which show growth-promoting and neuritogenic properties. Several questions that remain to be answered in this area were enumerated. It was pointed out that neurons make a large number of proteins, an order of magnitude higher than other cells, and several of these are yet to be characterized and their functional significance established. Myelination and synapto-genesis are two fundamental processes in brain development. Although much is known about myelin lipids and proteins, it is not known what signals the glial cell receives to initiate myelin synthesis around the axon, In fact, the process of myelination provides an excellent system for studying membrane biogenesis and cell-sell interaction. Great strides were made in the understanding of neurotransmitter receptors and their function in synaptic transmission, but how neurons make synapses with other specific neurons in a preprogrammed manner is not known and requires immediate study. In this context, it was stressed that developmental neurobiology of the human brain could be most profitably done in India. The importance and complexity of signal transduction mechanisms in the brain was explained and many fundamental questions that remain to be answered were discussed. In conclusion, several other areas of contemporary research interest in the nervous system were mentioned and it was suggested that a 'National Committee for Brain Research' be constituted to identify and intensify research programmes in this vital field.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2010 06:32
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:53
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/25206

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