Volume 6.44 | Nov 7

Neural Cell News 6.44 November 7, 2012
     In this issue: Publications | Reviews | Industry News | Policy News | Events | Jobs
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Single-Neuron Sequencing Analysis of L1 Retrotransposition and Somatic Mutation in the Human Brain
A major unanswered question in neuroscience is whether there exists genomic variability between individual neurons of the brain, contributing to functional diversity or to an unexplained burden of neurological disease. To address this question, researchers developed a method to amplify genomes of single neurons from human brains. [Cell] Abstract

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PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)

Elfn1 Regulates Target-Specific Release Probability at CA1-Interneuron Synapses
Scientists showed that the extracellular leucine-rich repeat fibronectin containing 1 (Elfn1) protein is selectively expressed by oriens-lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons and regulates presynaptic release probability to direct the formation of highly facilitating pyramidal-O-LM synapses. [Science] Abstract

Visual Stimulation Reverses the Directional Preference of Direction-Selective Retinal Ganglion Cells
Researchers demonstrated that adaptation with short visual stimulation of a direction-selective ganglion cell using drifting gratings can reverse this cell’s directional preference by 180°. This reversal is robust, long lasting, and independent of the animals age. [Neuron] Abstract

DNA Methyltransferase3A as a Molecular Switch Mediating the Neural Tube-to-Neural Crest Fate Transition
Researchers explored whether silencing via promoter DNA methylation plays a role in neural versus neural crest cell lineage decisions. They showed that DNA methyltransferase3A promotes neural crest specification by directly mediating repression of neural genes like Sox2 and Sox3. [Genes Dev]
Full Article | Press Release

Genetic Evidence that Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Mediates Competitive Interactions between Individual Cortical Neurons
To gain insights into the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) at the level of individual neurons, researchers tested the cell-autonomous requirements for Bdnf in visual cortical layer 2/3 neurons. They found that the number of functional Bdnf alleles a neuron carries relative to the prevailing genotype determines its density of dendritic spines, the structures at which most excitatory synapses are made. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Dimerization of Postsynaptic Neuroligin Drives Synaptic Assembly via Transsynaptic Clustering of Neurexin
Researchers examined one aspect of postsynaptic neuroligin with regard to its synaptogenic properties: its basal state as a constitutive dimer. They showed that dimerization is required for the synaptogenic properties of neuroligin and likely serves to induce presynaptic differentiation via a transsynaptic clustering of neurexin. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Acylated Ghrelin Protects Hippocampal Neurons in Pilocarpine-Induced Seizures of Immature Rats by Inhibiting Cell Apoptosis
An antiapoptotic effect of acylated ghrelin (AG) in cortical neuronal cells has recently been reported. However, whether there is a neuroprotective effect of AG in hippocampal neurons of pilocarpine-induced seizures in rats, is still unknown. Therefore, the underlying mechanism of AG on lithium-pilocarpine-induced excitotoxicity was examined in the hippocampus of rat. [Mol Biol Rep] Abstract | Full Article

Characterization of Embryonic Cortical Neuron Death in Prolonged Cell Suspension
Dissociation of cells from tissues or culture is an inevitable step for cell transplantation, and cell viability in suspension may influence the outcome of the cell therapy. To this end, the authors asked whether the suspension time of freshly dissociated neurons in vitro affects their viability. [Neurosci Lett] Abstract

Normal Spastin Gene Dosage Is Specifically Required for Axon Regeneration
Axon regeneration allows neurons to repair circuits after trauma; however, most of the molecular players in this process remain to be identified. Given that microtubule rearrangements have been observed in injured neurons, the authors tested whether microtubule-severing proteins might play a role in axon regeneration. They found that axon regeneration is extremely sensitive to levels of the microtubule-severing protein spastin. [Cell Rep] Abstract

Your Free Copy of the Nature Neuroscience Wallchart "Neural Stem Cells" Awaits.


Phosphodiesterases in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are responsible for the breakdown of cyclic nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). As such, they are crucial regulators of levels of cyclic nucleotide-mediated signaling. cAMP signaling and cGMP signaling have been associated with neuroplasticity and protection, and influencing their levels in the cell by inhibition of PDEs has become a much studied target for treatment in a wide array of disorders, including neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, the authors focus on the involvement of PDEs in neurodegenerative disorders. [IUBMB Life] Abstract


Michael J. Fox Foundation Partners with the National Institutes of Health on Critical Biomarker Search
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) announced a collaboration called BioFIND, a multi-site study focused on identifying Parkinson’s disease biomarkers, critical tools for the development of new drugs. BioFIND will focus on the discovery of new biomarkers, complementing MJFF’s existing Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative which seeks to verify promising biomarker leads. [Michael J. Fox Foundation] Press Release

Isis Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase Ib/IIa Study of ISIS-SMNRx in Patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the initiation of a Phase Ib/IIa study evaluating ISIS-SMNRx in children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA is a severe and rare genetic neuromuscular disease characterized by muscle atrophy and weakness and is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. [Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.] 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 20th Anniversary Meeting of The American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair
April 25-27, 2013
Clearwater Beach, United States

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


Quality Control Operations Coordinator (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Research Technologist – Cell Separation (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Scientist – Endothelial Cell Research (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Product Manager – Hematopoietic (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Product Quality Scientist (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Postdoctoral Position – Tumor Stem Cells (Cancer Institute of New Jersey)

Postdoctoral Position – Neurobiology (Weizmann Institute of Science)

Postdoctoral Position – Pathophysiology of Brain Tumors (UMR 6301 ISTCT)

Postdoctoral Position(s) – Cell Biology, Biophysics and Neurobiology (University of Missouri, Kansas City)

Postdoctoral Position – Sensory Neuron Morphogenesis (MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology)

Postdoctoral Position – Intrinsic Plasticity and Homeostasis in the Neocortex (University of Leicester)

Postdoctoral Position – Axonal Transport of Mitochondria in ALS (University of Sheffield)

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