Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Brain protein expression map links genetics to behaviour

Dec 2017: A map of post-synaptic protein expression in the neocortex of the brain has been published by Professor Seth Grant and colleagues. The data can form a bridge between genetics and functional studies such as imaging and behaviour.

Professor Seth Grant and colleagues have produced a proteome expression map of  post-synaptic proteins in the neocortex. They found that the pattern of molecules varied between areas of the brain, with signatures of expression of individual proteins, protein complexes, biochemical and metabolic pathways.

The team examined the signatures in brain regions corresponding to language, emotion and memory functions. Interestingly, they found that the genes linked to smoking pinpointed the same brain regions that have previously been identified in functional magnetic resonance brain imaging studies.

The team says this confirms that their map can bridge the gap between genetic studies and findings from brain imaging to help to explain how the brain works.

The researchers have made all of their data available on Edinburgh DataShare.

The study was based on post mortem brain tissue samples from healthy people held in the Medical Research Council’s Edinburgh Brain & Tissue Bank. It is published in Nature Neuroscience and was funded by the MRC and the European Union.

This is an important step toward understanding the molecular basis of human thought.

Professor Seth GrantCentre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Dr Kate Adcock, MRC Head of Neurosciences & Mental Health, said:  “This innovative study enriches our understanding of the human brain through its use of samples from the Medical Research Council’s Edinburgh Brain Bank. The information that Professor Grant and his team has generated provide an excellent opportunity for researchers to gain further insight into how the brain works.”

Related links

Read the scientific article: Roy et al., Proteomic analysis of postsynaptic proteins in regions of the human neocortex. Nature Neuroscience 2017. doi:10.1038/s41593-017-0025-9

Access project data on Edinburgh DataShare

Professor Seth Grant Principal Investigator profile

Synaptic biology & disease research in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Edinburgh Brain & Tissue Bank