Volume 8.41 | Oct 22

Neural Cell News 8.41 October 22, 2014
Neural Cell News
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Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Directly into Brain Cells
Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types [Press release from Washington University in St. Louis discussing publication in Neuron]
Press Release | Abstract
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Pyruvate Kinase and Aspartate-Glutamate Carrier Distributions Reveal Key Metabolic Links between Neurons and Glia in Retina
Researchers show that Müller glia in retinas have specific enzyme deficiencies that can enhance their ability to synthesize Gln. The metabolic cost of these deficiencies is that they impair the Müller cell’s ability to metabolize Glc. They demonstrate that the cells can compensate for this deficiency by using metabolites produced by neurons. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Neurotrophin-3 Regulates Ribbon Synapse Density in the Cochlea and Induces Synapse Regeneration after Acoustic Trauma
Using cell-specific inducible gene recombination in mice researchers found that, in the postnatal inner ear, brain derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3 are required for the formation and maintenance of hair cell ribbon synapses in the vestibular and cochlear epithelia, respectively. They also show that supporting cells in these epithelia are the key endogenous source of the neurotrophins. [eLife] Full Article | Press Release

Alternative Generation of CNS Neural Stem Cells and PNS Derivatives from Neural Crest Derived Peripheral Stem Cells
Using global gene expression analysis the authors demonstrate that reprogrammed neural crest-derived stem cells completely lose their previous PNS characteristics and acquire the identity of neural stem cells derived from embryonic spinal cord. [Stem Cells] Abstract

Adult Neural Precursor Cells from the Subventricular Zone Contribute Significantly to Oligodendrocyte Regeneration and Remyelination
The relative contribution of neural precursor cells versus parenchymal oligodendrocyte progenitor cells to remyelination is unknown. Scientists used in vivo genetic fate mapping to assess the behavior of each progenitor type within the corpus callosi of mice subjected to cuprizone-induced demyelination. [J Neurosci] Abstract

Notch Signaling Acts before Cell Division to Promote Asymmetric Cleavage and Cell Fate of Neural Precursor Cells
The author found that inactivation of Notch in fly embryonic neural precursor cells disrupted the asymmetric positioning of the cleavage furrow and produced daughter cells of the same size and fate. [Sci Signal] Abstract

Reprogramming the Fate of Human Glioma Cells to Impede Brain Tumor Development
One potential approach to eradicating glioma cells is to force these cells to undergo terminal differentiation and, in the process, to irreversible postmitotic arrest. Investigators show that neurogenin 2 synergizes with sex-determining region Y-box 11 to efficiently convert human glioma cells to terminally differentiated neuron-like cells in both cell culture and adult mouse brains. [Cell Death Dis] Full Article

Effects of Let-7b and TLX on the Proliferation and Differentiation of Retinal Progenitor Cells In Vitro
The authors show that let-7b and TLX play important roles in controlling retinal progenitor cell (RPC) fate determination in vitro. Let-7b suppresses TLX expression to negatively regulate RPC proliferation and accelerate the neuronal and glial differentiation of RPCs. [Sci Rep] Full Article

Functional Regeneration of Supraspinal Connections in a Patient with Transected Spinal Cord following Transplantation of Bulbar Olfactory Ensheathing Cells with Peripheral Nerve Bridging
A patient’s olfactory bulb was removed and used to derive a culture containing olfactory ensheathing cells and olfactory nerve fibroblasts. Following resection of the glial scar the cultured cells were transplanted into the spinal cord stumps above and below the patient’s spinal cord injury. [Cell Transplant]
Full Article | Press Release

Neural-Competent Cells of Adult Human Dermis Belong to the Schwann Lineage
Scientists investigated the source of human dermal neural precursor cells in adult tissue. By following an unbiased, comprehensive approach employing cell-surface marker screening, cell separation, transcriptomic characterization, and in vivo fate analyses, they found that p75NTR+ precursors of human foreskin can be ascribed to the Schwann and perivascular cell lineages. [Stem Cell Rep] Full Article | Graphical Abstract

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Mechanisms of Neuroblastoma Regression
Recent studies suggest several possible mechanisms to explain the phenomena of spontaneous regression in neuroblastomas, including neurotrophin deprivation, humoral or cellular immunity, loss of telomerase activity and alterations in epigenetic regulation. The authors describe the different mechanisms of spontaneous neuroblastoma regression and the consequent therapeutic approaches. [Nat Rev Clin Oncol] Abstract

Generation of Neurons from Somatic Cells of Healthy Individuals and Neurological Patients through Induced Pluripotency or Direct Conversion
Induced pluripotent stem cells from both healthy individuals and patients suffering from debilitating, life-threatening neurological diseases have been differentiated into several specific neuronal subtypes. An alternative emerging approach is the direct conversion of somatic cells (i.e., fibroblasts, blood cells, or glial cells) into neuron-like cells. However, to what extent neuronal direct conversion of diseased somatic cells can be achieved remains an open question. [Stem Cells] Full Article

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EU-Funded Consortium Led by Immatics and BioNTech to Advance a Novel Class of Fully Personalized Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines into Clinical Trials for Brain Cancer
BioNTech AG and immatics biotechnologies GmbH announced that they are moving a novel concept of fully personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines, Glioma Actively Personalized Vaccine Consortium, into the clinic. [BioNTech AG] Press Release

Autism Speaks Invests $2.3 Million in Research on Gut-Brain Connection
Autism Speaks has selected two major research projects, one focused on intestinal bacteria, the other on chronic constipation, to advance understanding of autism’s gut-brain connection. Funding for the studies, each spanning three years, will total more than $2.3 million. [Autism Speaks Inc.] Press Release

NIH Awards UC Scientist $1.67 Million for Brain Tumor Research
A small pilot cancer study funded by Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure has led to a $1.67 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will enable University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers to study a novel strategy to combat glioblastoma multiforme. [University of Cincinnati] Press Release

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NEW Lecturer – Infantile Neurology (Poznan University of Medical Sciences)

NEW Faculty Positions – Personalized Medicine (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Associate/Full Professor – Rudi Schmid Endowed Chair in Neuroscience (University of California, San Francisco)

Postdoctoral Research Assistant – Cell Polarity (University of Dundee)

Tenure Track Positions – Neuroscience (Albert Einstein College of Medicine / Gottesman Stem Cell Institute)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Stem Cell Research (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Tissue Engineering & Spinal Cord Injury (Nanyang Technological University)

Postdoctoral Candidate – Dynamic Organization of Synapses (INSERM)

Scientist – Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Neural Differentiation (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

Scientist – Pluripotent Stem Cell Media Development, High Throughput Screening (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

Scientist – Cell Culture Support Products (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

Scientist – Immunology/Cell Separation (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

Research Associate – Cell Separation (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

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