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Neuronanotechnology to Cure Criminality and Mental Illness. July 20, 2006—Terasem Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology, Lincoln, Vermont. Nancy J. Woolf, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University of California, Los Angeles, CA n firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy J. Woolf, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Leading to the question: How is memory stored?
(e.g. What happens when animals perform tasks such as fear conditioning, avoidance, and spatial navigation?)
Fear conditioning increases the breakdown of MAP2 and tubulin and also alters the phosphorylation state (Woolf et al., 1999; Woolf, 1998; Woolf et al., 1994).
Knockout studies show MAP2 is essential to fear conditioning (Khuchua et al., 2003).
Passive avoidance affects the distribution of MAP2-rich modules of cortex (Van der Zee et al., 1994).
Spatial and working memory are enhanced by overexpression of kinesin (Wong et al., 2002).
Naïve Control Tone-Shock Paired Tone-Shock Unpaired
Increased MAP2 immunostaining in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells is due to increased breakdown of these proteins (confirmed by immunoblotting).
MAP2 breakdown in select cortical modules depends on recent experience and learning.
Microtubules are universal cables when dephosphorylated (with MAP2 densities hidden).
Specific information is amplified upon phosphorylation (with MAP2 density-contours revealed).
Genomic loci identified for bipolar disorder(e.g., Hayden & Nurnberger, 2006; Cheng et al., 2006; Segundo et al., 2003) overlap with loci for human tubulin proteins (Entrez Gene,NIH):
In bipolar disorder, thoughts speed up (as in mania) or slow down (as in depression) possibly due to altered MAP2-binding dynamics as dictated by the tubulin isotypes expressed.
Electromagnetic treatments are potentially beneficial, but there is no theoretical basis for how they work, thereby limiting our ability to make these treatments any better.
Redefining electromagnetic treatments in terms of how they affect microtubule signaling and how they correct abnormal signaling patterns will enable significant improvements.
Moreover, since microtubules are both structurally plastic and capable of long-term storage, permanent functional adaptation may be possible. (i.e., This approach may lead to a long-lasting cure for affective disorders.)