Volume 5.25 | Jun 29

Neural Cell News 5.25, June 29, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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TOP STORY

Researchers Clock the Speed of Brain Signals
Two studies have uncovered surprising details about the complex process that leads to the flow of neurotransmitters between brain neurons – a dance of chemical messages so delicate that missteps often lead to neurological dysfunction. [Press release from Weill Cornell Medical College discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience and Neuron]

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SCIENCE NEWS

UCI, French Researchers Find Master Switch for Adult Epilepsy
Researchers have identified a central switch responsible for the transformation of healthy brain cells into epileptic ones, opening the way to both treat and prevent temporal lobe epilepsy. [Press release from the University of California, Irvine discussing online prepublication in Annals of Neurology]

To Fix Diabetic Nerve Damage, Blood Vessels and Support Cells May Be the Real Targets of Treatment, Hopkins Study Suggests
Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves. [Press release from John Hopkins University School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Brain]

Researchers Identify Compound That May Provide Drug Therapy Approach for Huntington’s Disease
Researchers have identified compounds that appear to inhibit a signaling pathway in Huntington’s disease, a finding that may eventually lead to a potential drug therapy to help slow the progression of degenerative nerve disorders. [Press release from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas discussing online prepublication in Chemistry and Biology]

Competition Between Brain Cells Spurs Memory Circuit Development
Scientists have for the first time demonstrated how memory circuits in the brain refine themselves in a living organism through two distinct types of competition between cells. [Press release from the University of Michigan discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Nanotubes to the Rescue: Brain Cells Rescued by Gene Silencing Offers New Options for Stroke
The use of carbon nanotubes to deliver short strands of RNA and induce gene silencing of specific target areas in the brain responsible for motor functions has allowed scientists to ‘switch off’ proteins that contribute to neuronal tissue loss. [Press release from The School of Pharmacy, University of London discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

Sight Requires Exact Pattern of Neural Activity to be Wired in the Womb
The precise wiring of our visual system depends upon the pattern of spontaneous activity within the brain that occurs well before birth, a new study shows. [Press release from Yale University discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Non-coding RNA Has Role in Inherited Neurological Disorder – And Maybe Other Brain Diseases Too
A team of scientists have uncovered a novel mechanism regulating gene expression and transcription linked to Spinocerebellar ataxia 7. [Press release from the University of California, San Diego discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

HIV Disrupts Blood-Brain Barrier
HIV weakens the blood-brain barrier by overtaking a small group of supporting brain cells. [Press release from the Society for Neuroscience discussing online prepublication in The Journal of Neuroscience]

Lithium Profoundly Prevents Brain Damage Associated with Parkinson’s Disease
Lithium profoundly prevents the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson’s disease in a mouse model of the condition. [Press release from the Buck Institute discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience Research]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Multiple Forms of Activity-Dependent Competition Refine Hippocampal Circuits In Vivo
Using a mouse genetic system in which restricted populations of neurons in the hippocampal circuit are inactivated, researchers show that inactive axons are eliminated after they develop through a competition with active axons. [Neuron]

An Instructive Role for Patterned Spontaneous Retinal Activity in Mouse Visual Map Development
Researchers manipulated the pattern of spontaneous retinal waves present during development without changing overall activity levels through the transgenic expression of β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in retinal ganglion cells of mice. [Neuron]

CTCF Regulates Ataxin-7 Expression through Promotion of a Convergently Transcribed, Antisense Noncoding RNA
To understand how CTCF regulates ataxin-7 gene expression, researchers introduced ataxin-7 mini-genes into mice, and found that CTCF is required for SCAANT1 expression. [Neuron]

Overlapping Role of Dynamin Isoforms in Synaptic Vesicle Endocytosis
Researchers show that dynamin 3, thought to play a predominantly postsynaptic role, has a major presynaptic function. [Neuron]

Neuron-Restrictive Silencer Factor-Mediated Cyclic Nucleotide Gated Channelopathy in Experimental Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Enduring, abnormal expression and function of the ion channel hyperpolarization-activated cyclic-AMP gated channel type 1 occurs in temporal lobe epilepsy. Researchers examined the underlying mechanisms, and queried if interfering with these mechanisms could modify disease course. [Ann Neurol]

Functional Motor Recovery from Brain Ischemic Insult by Carbon Nanotube-Mediated siRNA Silencing
Here, researchers studied whether silencing of Caspase-3 using carbon nanotube-mediated in vivo RNA interference could offer a therapeutic opportunity against stroke. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Boundary Cap Cells Are Peripheral Nervous System Stem Cells That Can Be Redirected into Central Nervous System Lineages
Researchers show that boundary cap cell progeny are EGF/FGF2-responsive, form spheres, and express neural crest markers. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Impaired Neurovascular Repair in Subjects with Diabetes Following Experimental Intracutaneous Axotomy
Researchers examined blood vessel, Schwann cell and axonal regeneration using validated axotomy models to study and compare patterns and the relationship of regeneration among these different structures. [Brain]

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection of Human Astrocytes Disrupts Blood–Brain Barrier Integrity by a Gap Junction-Dependent Mechanism
Here, researchers demonstrate that few HIV-infected astrocytes (4.7 ± 2.8% in vitro and 8.2 ± 3.9% in vivo) compromise blood–brain barrier integrity. [J Neurosci]

Neuronal Store-Operated Calcium Entry Pathway as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Huntington’s Disease Treatment
Researchers found that the store-operated calcium entry (SOC) pathway activity is enhanced in neuronal cells expressing mutant Huntingtin and that the identified compounds inhibit SOC pathway in Huntington’s disease neurons. [Chem Biol]

Lithium Protects Against Oxidative Stress-Mediated Cell Death in α-Synuclein-Overexpressing In Vitro and In Vivo Models of Parkinson’s Disease
In this study, researchers examined the potential cytoprotective effect of lithium in preventing oxidative stress-induced protein accumulation and neuronal cell death in the presence of increased α-synuclein levels in vitro and in vivo. [J Neurosci Res]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Gains from Funding
A new research centre at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus will advance the work of researchers studying the biomechanics of preventing, diagnosing and treating brain and spinal cord injuries. [Simon Fraser University Press Release]

Arno Therapeutics Reports Positive Interim Results from Glioblastoma Study; Phase II Enrollment to Continue
Arno Therapeutics, Inc. announced that its Phase II clinical study of AR-67 has met pre-defined interim goals for patients with glioblastoma multiforme who were not previously treated with Avastin® and will continue toward completion. [Arno Therapeutics, Inc. Press Release]

Salk Scientist Named Rita Allen Scholar
Dr. Axel Nimmerjahn, Assistant Professor in the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center and holder of the Richard Allan Barry Developmental Chair, has been named a 2011 Rita Allen Scholar. [Salk Institute for Biological Studies Press Release]

Rush Scientist Receives NIH Grant to Research the Effects of the Common Household Spice on Multiple Sclerosis
A neurological scientist has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate whether cinnamon may stop the destructive process of multiple sclerosis. [Rush University Medical Center Press Release]

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYCSF) Announces New NYSCF – Golub Stem Cell Initiative for Parkinson’s Disease
The initiative permits researchers in the NYSCF Laboratory to use a novel approach to understand Parkinson’s disease that includes the creation of stem cell lines from a genetically diverse population of Parkinson’s patients. [New York Stem Cell Foundation Press Release]

Oncology Alliance: Apeiron, CCRI and SIOPEN Join Forces Against Neuroblastoma
Apeiron Biologics AG strengthens its oncology pipeline: The company will support the clinical development of an immune therapy against high-risk neuroblastoma that is being conducted by the Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) and the European Neuroblastoma Research Network (SIOPEN). [Apeiron Biologics AG Press Release]

Repligen Receives U.S. Fast Track Designation and European Orphan Medicinal Product Recommendation for RG3039 for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Repligen Corporation announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Fast Track designation for RG3039, a potential treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. [Repligen Corporation Press Release]

Tiny Worms, Big Job: McMaster Team Searches for Parkinson’s Treatment
Researchers from three disciplines are deploying thousands of tiny worms and a homegrown invention to test drugs in a collaborative bid to defeat Parkinson’s disease. [McMaster University 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 4th Stem Cells Europe
July 20-21, 2011
Edinburgh, Scotland

NEW Cancer Research Global Summit
August 16-17, 2011
London, United Kingdom

NEW The EMBO Meeting 2011
September 10-13, 2011
Vienna, Austria

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

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Chemist (STEMCELL Technologies)

Research and Development Senior Technologist (STEMCELL Technologies)


Lab Technologist – Tissue Culture (Maternity Leave) (STEMCELL Technologies)


Research and Development Technologist, hPSC Media (STEMCELL Technologies) 


Scientist (iPSC) (STEMCELL Technologies) 

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

Information Management Scientist – Scientific Data Management (Databases) (Dart Neuroscience LLC)

Microarray Lab Scientist and Manager (NeuroScience Inc.)

Research Laboratory Technician (Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair) 

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