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Brain Cell Barcodes

November 6, 2013

Encoding cellular proteins on a barcode could help researchers learn more about mental illnesses like schizophrenia.



Barcoding brain proteins. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The ubiquitous barcode may play a key role in schizophrenia research. Duke University cell biologist Nikhil Urs and his colleagues are using them to catalog all the proteins in individual brain cells from lab mice. Urs says the goal is to dive deeply into how these proteins change in the mouse version of schizophrenia.

NIKHIL URS (Duke University):

What we want to do is to analyze these differences or similarities between a normal mouse, and a mouse that displays certain symptoms of schizophrenia, and see what can we do to reverse these changes that have happened at the protein level.

Collecting all this information on barcodes could make it easier to analyze subtle patterns of change in specific types of brain cells – a feat that involves massive amounts of information. That could lead to more targeted, finely tuned treatments for schizophrenia, and potentially, other mental disorders. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.