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Neuron. 1995 Aug;15(2):361-72.

Characterization of a novel protein regulated during the critical period for song learning in the zebra finch.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Structural Biology, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


A male zebra finch learns a song by listening to a tutor, but song learning is normally restricted to a critical period in juvenile development. Here we identify an RNA whose expression in the song control circuit is altered during this critical period. The RNA encodes a soluble presynaptic protein that forms a predicted amphipathic alpha helix typical of the lipid-binding domain in apolipoproteins. We show this protein, which we call synelfin, to be the homolog of the human non-A beta component (and its precursor) recently purified from Alzheimer's disease amyloid. We suggest this highly conserved protein may serve a novel function critical to the regulation of vertebrate neural plasticity.

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