Memory material

Scientists have long established where the centers of movement, vision, hearing, fury, fear, pleasure are located in the brain. But, speaking about the memory that underlies all the abilities of man to know the world, scientists can not say anything.

The emergence and development of electronic computers led specialists to the conclusion that our memory resembles the memory of a computer

The emergence and development of electronic computers led specialists to the conclusion that our memory resembles the memory of a computer. Yes, the transmission of electrical impulses does take place in the brain. But the main question is how it all happens.

Simplified, the movement of the pulse along the nerve fiber is a chain of electrochemical reactions alternating from one fiber to another. And from here arises the conclusion: memory "hides" some substance of memory.

In the second half of the 20th century, the memory agent was actively sought by the neuroscientist Hiden (Sweden). It follows from his work that the composition of RNA (fish nucleic acid) of certain groups of nerve cells in the brain should vary depending on whether the experimental animal is being trained or not. If this is so, new knowledge can be encoded in the new RNA molecules. In turn, the new RNA will program the construction of a protein with a modified structure. And the acquired information will manifest itself in a new protein. There will be a memory - a new impulse, manifested as a result of a new electrochemical reaction based on a new protein.

H?den's experiments laid the foundation for the molecular theory of memory. The assumption that the memory substance is stored in a molecule caused an explosion of experiments. To test Hiden's ideas, it seemed to many that it was sufficient to simply transfer the molecules of the new RNA from the brain of the "trained" animals to "untrained" and those immediately become "smart." However, these experiments could not stand the test. And, nevertheless, the molecular theory of memory has begun to win new supporters.

George Anger of the University Medical College in Houston (USA) also tried to find a memory substance. He suggested that the memory activator could most likely be a simpler molecule of some other substance. For example, a protein chain is a group of amino acids.

To do this, the rats developed a sense of terror before darkness. As soon as one of them tried to harness in the dark from the division of the three boxes, she received an electric shock. Training required a fairly long training. Now the task was not easy: to allocate the supposed active substance of memory. First, raw RNA was isolated from the brain of trained rats. Then, with the help of hydrolysis in acid, its giant molecules were "torn" apart. Shards of molecules of different length, composition, and weight were obtained. They were filtered, so as to leave in solution only fragments of low molecular weight, that is, with a lower content of amino acids in the chain. The resulting filtrate, where, according to the researchers, among the inert fragments was the admixture of the substance sought, was divided into layers that precipitated in order of increasing molecular weight. Now the task was simplified: it was necessary to consistently test the effect of each precipitated substance on the brain of "untrained" animals.

Further experiments showed that in a column of several tens layers of precipitated substances only one layer was active. The memory substance extracted from this layer was injected with the "untrained" mouse, and a miracle happened - almost instantly a feeling of terror arose in front of the darkness! But the mice injected a microscopic dose of matter!

This memory substance was called "scotofobin" - from the Greek "scotos" - darkness and "phobos" - fear. Then we established its composition. Cotofobin turned out to be a chain of 14 amino acids - the main substance of proteins.

According to the scientist, scotofobin is only the first substance of memory from the great multitude of "words of the chemical code of memory".