Volume 5.18 | May 11

Neural Cell News 5.18, May 11, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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TOP STORIES

What Decides Neural Stem Cell Fate?
A research team recently found that expression of a gene called SOX2 maintains the potential for neural crest stem cells to become neurons in the peripheral nervous system, where they interface with muscles and other organs. [Press release from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

CIRM Awards $25 Million to Support Spinal Cord Injury Trial, $37.7 Million for Basic Stem Cell Science
The Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the State Stem Cell Agency, approved a $25 million award to support the first FDA-approved clinical trial based on cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The award to Menlo Park-based Geron, Corp, will support the company’s on-going early phase trial for people with spinal cord injury. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Press Release]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Scientists Reveal Nerve Cells’ Navigation System
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered how two closely related proteins guide projections from nerve cells with exquisite accuracy, alternately attracting and repelling these axons as they navigate the most miniscule and frenetic niches of the nervous system to make remarkably precise connections. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Alzheimer’s-Related Protein Disrupts Motors of Cell Transport, USF Study Finds
A protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease clogs several motors of the cell transport machinery critical for normal cell division, leading to defective neurons that may contribute to the memory-robbing disease, researchers report. [Press release from the University of South Florida discussing online prepublication in Cell Cycle]

Study Identifies Stem Cell-Related Changes That May Contribute to Age-Related Cognitive Decline
A new study offers an explanation for why our brains produce fewer and fewer neurons with age, a phenomenon thought to underlie age-related cognitive decline. The study suggests that this drop in production is due to the shrinking cache of adult stem cells in our brains. [Press release from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Human ESC-Derived Neural Crest Model Reveals a Key Role for SOX2 in Sensory Neurogenesis
The data suggest that SOX2 plays a key role for NGN1-dependent acquisition of neuronal fates in sensory ganglia. [Cell Stem Cell]

Division-Coupled Astrocytic Differentiation and Age-Related Depletion of Neural Stem Cells in the Adult Hippocampus
Here researchers show that continuous depletion of the neural stem cell pool, as a consequence of their division, may contribute to the age-related decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis. [Cell Stem Cell]

Genome-Wide Analysis of Self-Renewal in Drosophila Neural Stem Cells by Transgenic RNAi
The balance between stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is precisely controlled to ensure tissue homeostasis and prevent tumorigenesis. Here researchers use genome-wide transgenic RNAi to identify 620 genes potentially involved in controlling this balance in Drosophila neuroblasts. [Cell Stem Cell]

Transitions in Neural Oscillations Reflect Prediction Errors Generated in Audiovisual Speech
Using MEG in humans, researchers show that violating multisensory predictions causes a fundamental and qualitative change in both the frequency and spatial distribution of cortical activity. [Nat Neurosci]

A Combinatorial Semaphorin Code Instructs the Initial Steps of Sensory Circuit Assembly in the Drosophila CNS
Researchers show here that establishment of select CNS longitudinal tracts and formation of precise mechanosensory afferent innervation to the same CNS region are coordinately regulated by the secreted semaphorins Sema-2a and Sema-2b. [Neuron]

A Novel Function of the Proneural Factor Ascl1 in Progenitor Proliferation Identified by Genome-Wide Characterization of Its Targets
Researchers performed a genome-wide characterization of the transcriptional targets of Ascl1 in the embryonic brain and in neural stem cell cultures by location analysis and expression profiling of embryos overexpressing or mutant for Ascl1. [Genes Dev]

Controlled Epi-Cortical Delivery of Epidermal Growth Factor for the Stimulation of Endogenous Neural Stem Cell Proliferation in Stroke-Injured Brain
Researchers designed a biomaterials-based strategy to deliver molecules directly to the brain without tissue damage. [Biomaterials]

Distribution of Phosphorylated TrkB Receptor in the Mouse Hippocampal Formation Depends on Sex and Estrous Cycle Stage
The goal of this study was to identify the precise sites of TrkB activation in the mouse hippocampal formation and to determine any changes in the distribution of activated TrkB under conditions of enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and hippocampal excitability. [J Neurosci]

Differentiation of Postnatal Cerebellar Glial Progenitors is Controlled by Bmi1 through BMP Pathway Inhibition
Here, researchers use loss of function mouse models and in vitro assays—granule cell cultures and glial-neuronal co-cultures—to show that Bmi1 plays a crucial role in specification of glial progenitors during postnatal cerebellar development. [Glia]

Alzheimer Aβ Disrupts the Mitotic Spindle and Directly Inhibits Mitotic Microtubule Motors
Here researchers employ human somatic cells and Xenopus egg extracts to show that Aβ impairs the assembly and maintenance of the mitotic spindle. [Cell Cycle]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Neuralstem Reports First Quarter Financial Results and Provides Business and Clinical Update
Neuralstem, Inc. reported its financial results for the three months period ended March 31, 2011 and provided a business and clinical update. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Authorities Shut Controversial German Stem Cell Clinic
Health authorities in Germany have shut down a large clinic that had been peddling unproven stem cell treatments for a variety of physical disorders, including cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury. [ScienceInsider]

Einstein Secures $11 Million to Continue Research on Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease
The Einstein Aging Study, which examines both normal brain aging and the special challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, has recently received a renewal grant of $11 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging to continue its work. [Albert Einstein College of Medicine Press Release]

BC Scientists Link to European Consortium Studying Human Genome
Local scientists are now part of an International team compiling an enormous bank of resources for research into the functions of all known genes. The development of these biological resources will eventually allow scientists to know how the human genome behaves in health and disease. The British Columbia (BC) focus is neurological, including the brain, eye, and spinal cord, and encompassing such disorders as Parkinson and Alzheimer Disease. [Genome British Columbia Press Release]

New Dementia Treatments in Ten Years – Alzheimer’s Society
An Alzheimer’s Society research programme could lead to new dementia treatments within ten years, leading scientists said. [Alzheimer’s Society Press Release]

Yale and Rush University Scientists Receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
At the 18th Annual Conference of the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), the ASNTR awarded The 2011 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Donald Eugene Redmond, MD, professor of neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine. ASNTR also presented The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award to Roy E.A. Bakay, MD, professor and vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Rush University Medical Center. [EurekAlert!]

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 Translational Research in CNS Diseases
October 3-15, 2011
San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy

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

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

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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