For managing the memories acquired across a lifetime, human beings need to forget -- as part of the brains' system, says new research that has identified a new protein required for normal forgetting by the brain.
The findings uncovered a protein called "scribble", which orchestrates a series of molecules, joining several molecules to forge a pathway.
"What scribble does is combine the Rac1 and dopamine pathways together into a single dynamic pathway that controls active forgetting," said Ron Davis from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US.
Scribble was also found to play a crucial role in interacting with other key molecular players for forgetting.
"Certain memories are intrusive and, with sufficient knowledge of how the brain forgets, we should be able to remove selective memories. Alternatively, we could find a way to inhibit forgetting in those suffering from memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease," Davis added.
For the study, published online in the journal Neuron, the team analysed Drosophila, or the common fruit fly, in a critical model for studying memory found to be highly applicable to humans.
Flies that were genetically modified to suppress the production of Scribble protein, remembered twice as much as the flies with normal levels of the Scribble protein.
"Understanding the process of forgetting could have an enormous impact on how we treat a whole range of diseases," Davis noted.