Volume 5.24 | Jun 22

Neural Cell News 5.24, June 22, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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How a Neural Stem Cell Turns into a Tumor Stem Cell – Researchers Identify Key Molecules for Brain Tumor Initiation
Researchers are now beginning to understand the mechanisms of how neural stem cells, which are present in small quantities in the adult brain and which are responsible for the production of new neurons, give rise to tumor stem cells. [Press release from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch discussing research presented at the Brain Tumor Meeting 2011]



New Neurons Help Us To Remember Fear
Researchers report a new way for emotions to affect memory: The brain’s emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons. [Press release from the University of California, Berkley discussing online prepublication in Molecular Psychiatry]

Possible Susceptibility Genes Found in Neurodegenerative Disorder
An international research team has discovered three potential susceptibility genes for development of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease but is resistant to Parkinson’s medications. [Press release from Mayo Clinic discussing online prepublication in Nature Genetics]

Brain Scan Identifies Patterns of Plaques and Tangles in Adults with Down Syndrome
In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers used a unique brain scan to assess the levels of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in adults with Down syndrome. [Press release from the University of California, Los Angeles discussing online prepublication in Archives of Neurology]

Nerve Cells Grown from Stem Cells Give Insight into Parkinson’s
Oxford University researchers have succeeded in using stem cell technology to grow nerve cells in the laboratory from initial skin samples taken from Parkinson’s patients. [Oxford University Press Release]

Astrocytes Appear to Play an Important Role in Brain Tumors
Astrocytes seem to play a crucial role in brain tumor development and dissemination. [Press release from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch discussing research presented at the Brain Tumor Meeting 2011]

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Structural Biologists Reveal Novel Drug Binding Site in NMDA Receptor Subunit
Structural biologists have obtained a precise molecular map of the binding site for an allosteric inhibitor in a subtype of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA), which is commonly expressed in brain cells. [Press release from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Natural Alzheimer’s Weapon Suggests Better Treatment
Scientists have shown a molecular chaperone is working like a waste management company to collect and detoxify high levels of toxic amyloid beta peptide found in Alzheimer’s disease. [Press release from Georgia Health Sciences University discussing online prepublication in Molecular and Cellular Biology]

University of Tennessee Scientist Uncovers Trigger to Fatal Neurodegenerative Disease
Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has helped reveal a key trigger of Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome, a rare but deadly neurodegenerative disease. [Press release from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville discussing online prepublication in the Biophysical Journal]

University of California, Riverside Neuroscientists’ Discovery Could Bring Relief to Epilepsy Sufferers
To understand exactly how neurons function during epileptic seizures, researchers developed and used realistic computer simulations in their analyses and found that while there is a progressive and slow increase in intracellular sodium during seizure, it is this accumulation of intracellular sodium that leads to the termination of the seizure. [Press release from the University of California, Riverside discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Morehead State University Students Have Experiment Launched into Space
The goal of the experiment aboard Endeavour was to see if the Glioblastoma cell line was influenced by ionizing radiation and microgravity. [Morehead State University Press Release]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Subunit Arrangement and Phenylethanolamine Binding in GluN1/GluN2B NMDA Receptors
Here researchers report that the GluN1 and GluN2B amino-terminal domains form a heterodimer and that phenylethanolamine binds at the interface between GluN1 and GluN2B, rather than within the GluN2B cleft. [Nature]

Identification of Common Variants Influencing Risk of the Tauopathy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
To identify common genetic variation contributing to risk for tauopathies, researchers carried out a genome-wide association study of 1,114 individuals with progressive supranuclear palsy (cases) and 3,247 controls (stage 1) followed by a second stage in which we genotyped 1,051 cases and 3,560 controls for the stage 1 SNPs that yielded P ≤ 10−3. [Nat Genet]

Basolateral Amygdala Regulation of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Fear-Related Activation of Newborn Neurons
Given the role of the basolateral amygdala in hippocampus-dependent emotional memory, researchers investigated whether hippocampal neurogenesis was sensitive to emotional stimuli from the Basolateral Amygdala. [Mol Psychiatry]

KCNQ5 Channels Control Resting Properties and Release Probability of a Synapse
In recordings made from the rat calyx of Held, a giant mammalian terminal, researchers found resting potential to be controlled by KCNQ (Kv7) K+ channels, most probably KCNQ5 homomers. [Nat Neurosci]

Synaptically Driven State Transitions in Distal Dendrites of Striatal Spiny Neurons
In mice, simulation of cortical input by glutamate uncaging on proximal dendritic spines produced potential changes in striatal spiny neurons that tracked input time course. [Nat Neurosci]

Downregulation of VAPB Expression in Motor Neurons Derived from Induced Pluripotent Stem-Cells of ALS8 Patients
Here researchers present an additional tool to study amyotrophic lateral sclerosis based on ALS8-induced pluripotent stem cells. [Hum Mol Genet]

Ionic Dynamics Mediate Spontaneous Termination of Seizures and Postictal Depression State
Using a realistic computational model, researchers demonstrate that termination of seizure and postictal depression state may be mediated by dynamics of the intracellular and extracellular ion concentrations. [J Neurosci]

Positron Emission Tomography of Brain β-Amyloid and Tau Levels in Adults With Down Syndrome
The objective was to determine the neuropathological load in the living brain of nondemented adults with Down syndrome using positron emission tomography with 2-(1-{6-[(2-fluorine 18–labeled fluoroethyl)methylamino]-2-napthyl}ethylidene) malononitrile ([18F]FDDNP) and to assess the influence of age and cognitive and behavioral functioning. [Arch Neurol]

Sequestration of Toxic Oligomers by HspB1 as a Cytoprotective Mechanism
Here, researchers observed that in two distinct transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, mouse HspB1 (Hsp25) localized to the penumbral areas of plaques. [Mol Cell Biol]

Molecular Origin of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Syndrome: Insight from Computer Simulation of an Amyloidogenic Prion Peptide
Here, researchers characterize the folding of a peptide consisting of residues 109122 of the Syrian hamster prion protein (the H1 peptide) and of a more amyloidogenic A117V point mutant that leads in humans to an inheritable form of the Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome. [Biophys J]


$4 Million Gift Aids University of Kansas(KU) Medical Center’s Spinal Cord Injuries Repair Program
An anonymous $4 million gift to KU Endowment will fund spinal cord research through the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Institute for Neurological Disorders, which fosters neurological research developing discoveries into cures. [University of Kansas Press Release]

ReNeuron Signs License Agreement with Leading US Eye Research Institute to Develop Stem Cell Therapies for Diseases of the Retina
ReNeuron Group plc announces that it has signed a patent and know-how license agreement with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, US, regarding the Company’s ReN003 stem cell therapy programme focused on diseases of the retina. [ReNeuron Press Release]

Pfizer Canada Announces Neuropathic Pain Research Award Recipients
Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce the 2010 recipients of the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards. [Pfizer Canada Inc. Press Release]

Neuralstem Updates NSI-189 Major Depression Trial
Neuralstem, Inc. announced that it has been approved to dose the final cohort in the ongoing Phase Ia trial to test the safety of NSI-189 for the treatment of major depression. [Neuralstem Inc. Press Release]


NIH Intervenes in Alzheimer’s Mouse Lawsuit
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has leapt to the rescue of a laboratory that was sued for distributing mouse models to researchers. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

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 Days of Molecular Medicine 2011 – Re-Engineering Regenerative Medicine 
November 10-12, 2011 
Hong Kong, China 

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