I get distracted at that level, and I suppose that means I'm restructuring the cells of my brain, since I'm thinking about it. But right now, I want to think about exactly what is going on:
"When something comes into your brain -- a thought, some sort of stimulus, you see something interesting, you hear some music -- synapses get activated," said [Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute]. "What happens next is really interesting, but to follow the pathway our experiments moved to cultured neurons. When synapses got activated, one of the proteins wrapped around that silencing complex gets degraded."
When the signal comes in, the wrapping protein degrades or gets fragmented. Then the RNA is suddenly free to synthesize a new protein.
"One reason why this is interesting is that scientists have been perplexed for some time as to why, when synapses are strengthened, you need to have proteins degrade and also make new proteins," said Kosik. "You have the degradation of proteins going on side by side with the synthesis of new proteins. So we have now resolved this paradox. We show that protein degradation and synthesis go hand in hand. The degradation permits the synthesis to occur. That's the elegant scientific finding that comes out of this."See? Something elegant just happened.