Profiling eIF2a-Dependent Translation in Synaptic Plasticity and Memory

This project will provide evidence to help direct treatment strategies in patients with memory deficits and reduce the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Addressing mental and neurological disorders

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that traditional epidemiological methods have seriously underestimated the global burden of mental and neurological disorders. These methods, according to the WHO, are biased toward mortality and they disregard disability rates.

Learning, memory, and perception rely on an intricate network of proteins that orchestrate the human brain's higher cognitive functions. Protein synthesis, also known as translation, is an important biological process that regulates the function of these molecules. Dysregulation of translation leads to pathological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, Huntington's disease, and prion diseases (which are spongiform encephalopathies, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease).

A key molecule regulating protein synthesis is eIF2. Recent studies have shown that modulation of eIF2 activity can enhance learning and memory. Knowledge gained from this project has the potential to direct treatment strategies targeting eIF2 in patients with memory deficits to alleviate the cognitive and neurological symptoms associated with Alzheimer's.

Project objectives

The project aims to:

-understand a key molecule regulating protein synthesis and its target mRNAs in synaptic plasticity and memory formation

-implement a multi-approach study using genetic, biochemical, behavioural, electrophysiological, and super resolution imaging

-further develop the graduate training environment and international research collaboration

Project leadership

The project lead is Nahum Sonenberg at McGill University, Canada. His collaborators are Kobi Rosenblum, University of Haifa, Israel, and Deepak Nair,Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Project funding

This project is funded through the first research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Initiative. The Initiative is a collaboration between the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and Canada's International Development Research Centre.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


36 months

IDRC Officer

Fabiano Santos

Total funding

CA$ 655,702


Canada-Israel Health Research Program

Project Leader

Nahum Sonenberg


The Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University

Institution Country


Institution Website