Lightning-Fast Vision Protein Named After Pikachu
Pikachu of Pokemon fame, known for his lightning-fast moves and, er, shocking electric effects has inspired the name of a newly discovered vision protein - Pikachurin. See, nerds really do have a sense of humor!
The team of 18 Japanese research scientists credited with the discovery all work at the Osaka Bioscience Institute's Department of Developmental Biology (left). The reasearchers recently published their findings in the Web version of the the U.S. science magazine Nature Neuroscience.
The title of the post is (deep breath)...
“Pikachurin, a dystroglycan ligand, is essential for photoreceptor ribbon synapse formation.”
The body of the submission, although only a paragraph long, has to be the most convoluted, big-word packed piece of writing I've ever seen... so, like, I guess those dudes know what they're talkin' 'bout! Read it here – if you really want to feel like a dummy.
For those who are satisfied with the Reader's Digest condensed version, it goes something like this: the new protein is essential for both eye-to-brain transmission of visual signals and the way the eye tracks moving, or kinetic, objects in the field of vision. Without Pikachurin, it can take up to three times longer for visual signals to be sent to the brain's vision center. That's, like, not good!
Whew, I'm all scienced out but I'll close by saying that the discovery of Pikachurin may lead to new methods of treatment for diseases like Retinitis Pigmentosa, as well as showing that nerds & geeks can lighten up a little when they're not all intense and studious. (via Daily Yomiuri)
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