The discovery of a protein that controls nerve cell protection could be a promising step in the fight against stroke and epilepsy.
Researchers at the University of Bristol found that the SUMO protein can be activated to prevent nerve cells becoming damaged during heart failure and epileptic seizure.
The protein has also been found to regulate the transfer of information from kainate receptors to the brain.
Kainate receptors are responsible for communication in nerve cells and can, when activated, lead to seizures and cell death.
Dr Jack Mellor, joint leader of the study, commented: "These findings provide a link between SUMO and kainate receptors that increases our understanding of the processes that nerve cells use to protect themselves from excessive and abnormal activity."
According to the study authors, the discovery has the potential to create new therapies for stroke and epilepsy.
The study adds to a growing body of research that shows the protective and reparatory nature of the SUMO protein.
In 2010, a team at the University of Texas claimed that the protein helps to facilitate DNA repair when working with the replication protein A (RPA).
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