Volume 5.19 | May 18

Neural Cell News 5.19, May 18, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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The Slow Road to a Synapse
Grappling with a question that has defied scientific explanation for decades, a small team of researchers offers the first evidence-based
model to explain how certain proteins in neurons travel from the central body of the cell down its axon to the terminal synapse. [Press release from the University of California, San Diego discussing online prepublication in Neuron]



Disruption of Nerve Cell Supply Chain May Contribute to Parkinson’s
New data offer hints as to why Parkinson’s disease so selectively harms brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine, say researchers. [Press release from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

A Giant Interneuron for Sparse Coding
Scientists have now discovered a single neuron in the brain of locusts that enables the adaptive regulation of sparseness in olfactory codes. [Press release from the Max Planck Society discussing online prepublication in Science]

Sex Hormone Precursor Inhibits Brain Inflammation
Researchers have discovered a steroid hormone that inhibits inflammation in the brain. [Press release from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Cell]

Alzheimer’s Risk Gene Disrupts Brain’s Wiring 50 years Before Disease Hits
Researchers report that the C-allele of the CLU gene, which is possessed by 88 percent of Caucasians, impairs the development of myelin, the protective covering around the neuron’s axons in the brain, making it weaker and more vulnerable to the onset of Alzheimer’s much later in life. [Press release from the University of California, Los Angeles discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

A New Program for Neural Stem Cells
Researchers have now succeeded in producing central nervous system cells from neural stem cells of the peripheral nervous system. They found that if peripheral stem cells are maintained under defined growth conditions, they generate oligodendrocytes, which form the myelin layer that surrounds the neurons found in the brain and spinal cord. [Press release from the Max Planck Society discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Novel Mouse Model Provides Insight Into Rare Neurodegenerative Disease
The study uses a new transgenic mouse model for a Huntington’s disease-like disorder to unravel complex molecular events that drive disease pathology. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Neuron]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Normalization for Sparse Encoding of Odors by a Wide-Field Interneuron
Here researchers show the existence of a normalizing negative-feedback loop within the mushroom body to maintain sparse output over a wide range of input conditions. [Science]

An ADIOL-ERß-CtBP Transrepression Pathway Negatively Regulates Microglia-Mediated Inflammation
Here, researchers provide evidence that 5-androsten-3ß,17ß-diol (ADIOL) functions as a selective modulator of estrogen receptor (ER)ß to suppress inflammatory responses of microglia and astrocytes. [Cell]

Interferon-γ Induces Progressive Nigrostriatal Degeneration and Basal Ganglia Calcification
Researchers found that CNS-directed expression of interferon-γ resulted in basal ganglia calcification, reminiscent of human idiopathic basal ganglia calcification, and nigrostriatal degeneration. [Nat Neurosci]

Mechanistic Logic Underlying the Axonal Transport of Cytosolic Proteins
Researchers found that in cultured axons, populations of cytosolic proteins tagged to photoactivatable GFP (PAGFP) move with a slow motor-dependent anterograde bias distinct from both vesicular trafficking and diffusion of untagged PAGFP. [Neuron]

An Antisense CAG Repeat Transcript at JPH3 Locus Mediates Expanded Polyglutamine Protein Toxicity in Huntington’s Disease-like 2 Mice
Here researchers developed a BAC transgenic mouse model of HDL2 (BAC-HDL2) that exhibits progressive motor deficits, selective neurodegenerative pathology, and ubiquitin-positive nuclear inclusions. [Neuron]

Polarization-Controlled Differentiation of Human Neural Stem Cells Using Synergistic Cues from the Patterns of Carbon Nanotube Monolayer Coating
Researchers report a method for selective growth and structural-polarization-controlled neuronal differentiation of human neural stem cells into neurons using carbon nanotube network patterns. [ACS Nano]

The Parkinsonian Mimetic, MPP+, Specifically Impairs Mitochondrial Transport in Dopamine Axons
Impaired axonal transport may play a key role in Parkinson’s disease. To test this notion, a microchamber system was adapted to segregate axons from cell bodies using green fluorescent protein-labeled mouse dopamine neurons. [J Neurosci]

Common Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Variant Within the CLU Gene Affects White Matter Microstructure in Young Adults
Researchers evaluated whether the CLU risk variant was similarly associated with lower white matter integrity in healthy young humans. [J Neurosci]

Peripheral Nervous System Progenitors Can Be Reprogrammed to Produce Myelinating Oligodendrocytes and Repair Brain Lesions
Combining in vitro culture and transplantation, researchers show that expanded embryonic neural crest stem cell-like cells lose peripheral nervous system traits and are reprogrammed to generate CNS cell types. [J Neurosci]

Overexpression of bHLH Transcription Factors Enhances Neuronal Differentiation of Foetal Human Neural Progenitor Cells in Various Ways
In the present study, researchers compare the actions of four basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors on the proliferation, specification, and terminal differentiation of human neural progenitor cells isolated from the foetal dorsal telencephalon. [Stem Cells Dev]


Start Up of Clinical Phase III Study with Lu AA21004 in Japan
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and H. Lundbeck A/S announced the initiation of a phase III clinical trial in Japan for Lu AA21004 in patients with major depressive disorder. [Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited Press Release]

Astellas Pharma and BioFocus Sign Target Discovery Agreement
BioFocus announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. focused on discovering novel targets in the field of CNS disorders. [BioFocus Press Release]


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)


NEW 12th International Congress of Human Genetics and 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics
October 11-15, 2011
Montreal, Canada

NEW Cellular Programs and Reprogramming
October 24-28, 2011
Suzhou, China

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


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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