Yeon-Kyun Shin is a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology at Iowa State University. He is pretty pleased. After 15 years of research, it seems that he has nailed down which protein is the one and only trigger that will allow neurotransmitters to be released in the brain.
This protein is known by the unwieldy name synaptotagmin 1 ... Syt1 for short. Synaptotagmin 1 senses when it's time to open something called a pore so that neurotransmitters can be released. When the neurotransmitters go into a fusion pore, brain activity is created.
" 'We are quite excited that for the first time we are showing that Syt1 is really what triggers the signal in the brain,' he said. 'This is a really important thing in terms of neurosciences. This is the heart of the molecular part of the brain function.' "
Shin is hopeful that this new data will contribute to research into other brain disorders like autism and epilepsy.