Volume 5.17 | May 4

Neural Cell News 5.17, May 4, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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TOP STORY

Tired Neurons Caught Nodding Off in Sleep-Deprived Rats
A new study in rats is shedding light on how sleep-deprived lifestyles might impair functioning without people realizing it. The more rats are sleep-deprived, the more some of their neurons take catnaps — with consequent declines in task performance. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in Nature]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Mayo Clinic Finds New Genetic Cause of Neurodegeneration
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered two mutations responsible for a devastating neurological condition they first identified 15 years ago. The researchers say their study has revealed a new neural pathway that may help understand a variety of similar conditions. [Press release from the Mayo Clinic discussing online prepublication in Nature Genetics]

System in Brain—Target of Class of Diabetes Drugs—Linked to Weight Gain
Researchers have determined why a certain class of diabetes drugs leads to weight gain and have found that the molecular system involved (PPAR-gamma found in the brain) is also triggered by consumption of high-fat foods. [Press release from the University of Cincinnati discussing online prepublication in Nature]


Cells Talk More in Areas Alzheimer’s Hits First, Boosting Plaque Component
Higher levels of cell chatter boost amyloid beta in the brain regions that Alzheimer’s hits first, researchers report. [Press release from Washington University in St. Louis discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Gladstone Scientist Makes Key Innovations in Stem-Cell Technology
A scientist at the Gladstone Institutes has made two significant stem-cell discoveries that advance medicine and human health by creating powerful new approaches for using stem cells and stem-cell-like technology. [Press release from Gladstone Institute discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science]

BU Neuroscientists Publish Theta Rhythm Findings in Journal “Science
A team of researchers present findings that support the hypothesis that spatial coding by grid cells requires theta rhythm oscillations, and dissociates the mechanisms underlying the generation of entorhinal grid cell periodicity and head-direction selectivity. [Press release from Boston University Arts & Sciences discussing online prepublication in Science]

New Target Structure for Antidepressants on the Horizon?
Scientists have compared the genomes of a total of 4,088 patients and 11,001 healthy control subjects from all over the world and identified a new risk gene variant for depression. They were able to show for the first time that physiologically measurable changes can be observed in the brains of healthy carriers of this risk allele. [Press release from the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

A Role for Central Nervous System PPAR-γ in the Regulation of Energy Balance
Here researchers report a previously unknown role for central nervous system (CNS) PPAR-γ in the regulation of energy balance. [Nature]

Local Sleep in Awake Rats
Here researchers show that in freely behaving rats after a long period in an awake state, cortical neurons can go briefly ‘offline’ as in sleep, accompanied by slow waves in the local electroencephalogram. [Nature]

Mutations in DNMT1 Cause Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy with Dementia and Hearing Loss
Here researchers show that mutations in DNMT1 cause both central and peripheral neurodegeneration in one form of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy with dementia and hearing loss. [Nat Genet]

Sox2 Cooperates with Chd7 to Regulate Genes that are Mutated in Human Syndromes
Here researchers combined proteomic and genomic approaches to characterize gene regulation by Sox2 in neural stem cells. [Nat Genet]

Reduction of Theta Rhythm Dissociates Grid Cell Spatial Periodicity from Directional Tuning
Researchers analyzed grid cell spatial coding during reduction of network theta rhythm oscillations caused by medial septum (MS) inactivation with muscimol. [Science]

Neuronal Activity Regulates the Regional Vulnerability to Amyloid-β Deposition
Herein, researchers provide evidence that endogenous neuronal activity regulates the regional concentration of interstitial fluid amyloid-β (Aβ), which drives local Aβ aggregation. [Nat Neurosci]

NMDA Receptor Activity Downregulates KCC2 Resulting in Depolarizing GABA(A) Receptor–Mediated Currents
Researchers found that NMDA receptor activity and Ca2+ influx caused the dephosphorylation of Ser940 in dissociated rat neurons, leading to a loss of KCC2 function that lasted longer than 20 min. [Nat Neurosci]

The Neuronal Transporter Gene SLC6A15 Confers Risk to Major Depression
Researchers present data from a genome-wide association study revealing a neuron-specific neutral amino acid transporter (SLC6A15) as a susceptibility gene for major depression. [Neuron]

Rapid Induction and Long-Term Self-Renewal of Primitive Neural Precursors from Human Embryonic Stem Cells by Small Molecule Inhibitors
Here, researchers report synergistic inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3, transforming growth factor β, and Notch signaling pathways by small molecules can efficiently convert monolayer cultured human embryonic stem cells into homogenous primitive neuroepithelium within 1 wk under chemically defined condition. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Direct Reprogramming of Mouse Fibroblasts to Neural Progenitors
Here researchers show that transient induction of the four reprogramming factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc) can efficiently transdifferentiate fibroblasts into functional neural stem/progenitor cells with appropriate signaling inputs. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Northwest Biotherapeutics’ Ongoing Brain Cancer Trial Recruiting Additional Patients at Four Medical Centers Across US
Northwest Biotherapeutics announced that four medical centers across the country are actively recruiting and screening to enroll additional new patients in the Company’s ongoing 240-patient randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of DCVax® immune therapy for Glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal type of brain cancer. [Therapeutics Daily]

Targacept to Retain Full Rights for TC-5619
Targacept, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel NNR Therapeutics™, announced that AstraZeneca will not exercise its option to license Targacept’s product candidate TC-5619. [Targacept, Inc. Press Release]

RXi Pharmaceuticals and the University of Massachusetts Medical School Announce Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Cooperative Research Grant for RNAi Therapeutics for ALS
RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative therapies addressing major unmet medical needs using RNA-targeted and immunotherapy technologies, announced that the company’s proposed research collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has been selected for Cooperative Research Matching Grant funding by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. [RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation Press Release]

InVivo Therapeutics and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Form Strategic Research Collaboration to Develop Novel Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
InVivo Therapeutics, a company focused on the development of groundbreaking technologies for the treatment of spinal cord injuries (SCI), and The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, today announced a strategic research collaboration for the development of novel SCI treatments. [InVivo Therapeutics Press Release]

POLICY NEWS

National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)

EVENTS

NEW Cell Signaling Networks 2011
October 22-27, 2011
Merida, Mexico

Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the neural cell community.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Tenure Track, Assistant/Associate Professor (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine)

Translational Neuroscience Scholars: Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Diseases (University of Minnesota)

Neuroscience Center Director (The University of Texas Health Science Center)

Postdoc in Neuroscience and Stem Cell Research (University of California – San Francisco)


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