Volume 4.19 | May 19

Neural Cell News 4.19, May 19, 2010.
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PLAGL2 Regulates Wnt Signaling to Impede Differentiation in Neural Stem Cells and Gliomas
Here, integrated genomic and biological analyses identified PLAGL2 as a potent protooncogene targeted for amplification/gain in malignant gliomas. The identification of PLAGL2 as a glioma oncogene highlights the importance of a growing class of cancer genes functioning to impart stem cell-like characteristics in malignant cells. [Cancer Cell]

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New Study Suggests Sickle Cell Disease May Affect Brain Function in Adults
Sickle cell disease may affect brain function in adults who have few or mild complications of the inherited blood disease, according to results of the first study to examine cognitive functioning in adults with sickle cell disease. [National Heart, Lung and Blood Press Release]

Resilience Factor Low in Depression, Protects Mice From Stress
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that helps to explain resilience to stress, vulnerability to depression and how antidepressants work. The new findings, in the reward circuit of mouse and human brains, have spurred a high tech dragnet for compounds that boost the action of a key gene regulator there, called (delta)FosB.
[Press release from the National Institute of Mental Health discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]
New Evidence that fMRI Experiments are Valid Measure of Neuron Activity
Researchers were able to show specific target neurons “light up” on the fMRI scans when they activated them with light pulses. [Press release from Scientific American discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Mechanism that Leads to Brain Maturation Found
A mechanism in the memory centre of a newborn that adjusts the maturation of the brain for information processing required later in life has been found by researchers. [Press release from The Hindu discussing online prepublication in The Journal of Neuroscience]



Global and Local fMRI Signals Driven by Neurons Defined Optogenetically by Type and Wiring
Using a novel integrated technology unifying optogenetic control of inputs with high-field fMRI signal readouts, researchers show here that specific stimulation of local CaMKIIa-expressing excitatory neurons, either in the neocortex or thalamus, elicits positive blood oxygenation level-dependent signals at the stimulus location with classical kinetics. [Nature]

Molecular Identity of Dendritic Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels
Using a highly sensitive electron microscopic immunogold technique, researchers revealed the presence of the dendritic voltage-gated Na+ 1.6 (Nav1.6) subunit in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells’ proximal and distal dendrites. [Science]

Identification of a CpG Island Methylator Phenotype that Defines a Distinct Subgroup of Glioma
Researchers have profiled promoter DNA methylation alterations in 272 glioblastoma tumors in the context of The Cancer Genome Atlas and found that a distinct subset of samples displays concerted hypermethylation at a large number of loci, indicating the existence of a glioma-CpG island methylator phenotype (G-CIMP). [Cancer Cell]

A Parallel Cholinergic Brainstem Pathway for Enhancing Locomotor Drive 
Researchers identified brainstem muscarinoceptive neurons in lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) that received parallel inputs from the mesencephalic locomotor region and projected back to reticulospinal cells to amplify and extend the duration of locomotor output. [Nature Neuroscience]

Lack of Cadherins Celsr2 and Celsr3 Impairs Ependymal Ciliogenesis, Leading to Fatal Hydrocephalus
The findings suggest that planar cell polarity signaling is involved in ependymal cilia development and in the pathophysiology of hydrocephalus, with possible implications in other ciliopathies. [Nature Neuroscience]

(Delta)FosB in Brain Reward Circuits Mediates Resilience to Stress and Antidepressant Responses
Researchers found that the transcription factor (delta)FosB mediates an essential mechanism of resilience in mice. [Nature Neuroscience]

N-Cadherin-Dependent Neuron-Neuron Interaction is Required for the Maintenance of Activity-Induced Dendrite Growth
The results identify a previously unexplored and specific function for activity-induced, N-cadherin–mediated neuron–neuron contacts in the maintenance of dendrite arbors. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A]

Stress-Induced Non-Vesicular Release of Prothymosin-(alpha) Initiated by an Interaction with S100A13, and its Blockade by Caspase-3 Cleavage
The results suggest that necrosis-inducing stress induces an extacellular release of prothymosin-(alpha) in a non-vesicular manner, whereas apoptosis-inducing stress does not, owing to the loss of its interaction with S100A13, a cargo molecule for extracellular release. [Cell Death Differ]

Omi/HtrA2 is a Positive Regulator of Autophagy that Facilitates the Degradation of Mutant Proteins Involved in Neurodegenerative Diseases
The results identify Omi as a novel regulator of autophagy and suggest that Omi might be important in the cellular quality control of proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases. [Cell Death Differ]

Guidance of Postural Motoneurons Requires MAPK/ERK Signaling Downstream of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1
The results indicate that MAPK/ERK activation downstream of FGFR1 is necessary for medial median motor column motor axon guidance and that embryonic stem cell-derived neurons provide an important tool for dissecting intracellular pathways required for axon guidance. [J Neurosci]

LRP2 in Ependymal Cells Regulates BMP Signaling in the Adult Neurogenic Niche
The findings suggest a novel mechanism whereby LRP2-mediated catabolism of BMP4 in the ependyma modulates the microenvironment
of the subependymal zone and enables adult neurogenesis to proceed. [J Cell Sci]

Meteorin Promotes the Formation of GFAP-Positive Glia via Activation of the Jak-STAT3 Pathway
The results suggest that meteorin promotes GFAP-positive glia formation by mediating the Jak-STAT3 signaling pathway during both cortical stem cell differentiation and retinal glia development. [J Cell Sci]

Spirulina Promotes Stem Cell Genesis and Protects Against Lipopolysaccharide Induced Declines in Neural Stem Cell Proliferation
The objectives of this study were to determine if spirulina could protect the proliferative potential of hippocampal neural progenitor cells from an acute systemic inflammatory insult of lipopolysaccharide. [PLoS One]


Kids Company Launches Major Campaign to Raise £5M for Neuroscience Research
Kids Company has launched a major social media campaign today to raise £5m to fund research into vulnerable children’s brains. [PRWeek]

Clinical Trial for Metastatic Brain Cancer Launching at Sylvester
Researchers have just received approval to begin enrolling patients in a Phase I clinical trial involving patients with tumors metastatic to the brain. The novel therapy is based on the laboratory discovery of a drug by Sheldon Greer, Ph.D., which can lead to a better radiation effect. [University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Press Release]

Trans-Atlantic Agreement a Boost to Neuroscience Research
Neurological research and clinical care received a significant boost as Imperial College London and McGill University of Montreal entered an agreement enabling them to work more closely together in this field. [McGill University Press Release]

Kettering Health Network Opens Neuro Center
Kettering Health Network dedicated its NeuroRehab and Balance Center on May 10, at Yankee Medical Center in Centerville. The center is a collaboration of Grandview/Southview Medical Centers and Kettering Medical Center. [Dayton Business Journal]

Owen Joins Centre for Brain and Mind
One of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, Adrian Owen, has been recruited to The University of Western Ontario as a Canada Excellence Research Chair and will bring his research program from the University of Cambridge. [The University of Western Ontario Press Release]

Scientific Learning Corporation Named Finalist for EdNET 2010 Impact Award
Scientific Learning Corporation earned finalist status for its significant, positive impact on education by applying educational and neuroscience research and technology to generate significant change in support of improved student learning. [MarketWatch]


House Nixes More Research Spending in COMPETES Bill
Catching the Democratic leadership by surprise, members voted 292 to 126 to block passage of a 5-year authorization bill that would have provided healthy increases in the research and education budgets of the National Science Foundation and research programs at the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce. [House of Representatives, United States]

British Science and Climate/Energy Ministers Named
Following the formation of the United Kingdom’s Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government, Conservative Member of Parliament David Willetts has been named as the new minister of state for universities and science. [House of Commons, United Kingdom]

European and International Experts Discuss the Way Forward in Stem Cell Research and Development
The European Medicines Agency assembled for the first time European and international experts from academia, regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical industry to review opportunities and difficulties in developing stem cell-based therapies and to discuss regulatory challenges. [European Medicines Agency, European Union]

European Union Agency Prepares to Assess First Stem Cell Drug
The first regenerative medicine based on stem cells could be filed for approval in Europe later this year, bringing the groundbreaking medical technology a step closer to reality. [European Medicines Agency, European Union]

Neurobiological Circuits of Addiction: Significance for Psychiatric Practice
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, will present a special research track at the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) 163rd annual meeting in New Orleans from May 22-26. [National Institute on Drug Abuse, United States]

The New York Stem Cell Foundation Receives $27 Million Grant from Robertson Foundation to Promote Stem Cell Research
The New York Stem Cell Foundation has received a grant of $27 million from the Robertson Foundation, established by Julian and Josie Robertson. [The New York Stem Cell Foundation Press Release]

Johns Hopkins to Unveil Center for Biotechnology Education
The Johns Hopkins University’s Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Advanced Academic Programs, will unveil the Center for Biotechnology at its fifth annual biotechnology research symposium. [Johns Hopkins’ Center for Biotechnology Education Press Release]

Roster of the Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee
As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) ongoing efforts to recruit qualified experts with minimal conflicts of interest who are interested in serving on FDA advisory committees, FDA is requesting nominations for members to serve on its advisory committees. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Announces $1 Billion in NIH Recovery Act Awards to Construct or Improve Biomedical Research Facilities
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced one billion dollars of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds have been awarded to construct, repair and renovate scientific research laboratories and related facilities across the country. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Notice of Intent to Publish Request for Applications for the Clinical Proteomic Technologies for Cancer Initiative (CPTC): Proteome Characterization Centers (NOT-CA-10-027) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Library of Medicine Independent Career Development Award for Biomedical Informatics (K22) (PAR-10-195) [National Institutes of Health, United States]


International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 8th Annual Meeting
June 16-19, 2010
San Francisco, United States

BIT’s 1st World Congress of NeuroTalk 2010
June 25-28, 2010
Singapore City, Singapore

7th Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of European Neuroscience
July 3-7, 2010
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

6th International Symposium on Neuroprotection and Neurorepair
October 1-4, 2010
Rostock, Germany

40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience 2010
November 13-17, 2010
San Diego, United States

Visit our events page to stay up to date with the latest events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.


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