Volume 5.31 | Aug 10

Neural Cell News 5.31, August 10, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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Human Skin Cells Converted Directly into Functional Neurons
Researchers have for the first time directly converted human skin cells into functional forebrain neurons, without the need for stem cells of any kind. [Press release from Columbia University Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Cell]



Scientists Map Genes for Common Form of Brain Cancer
Scientists have completed a comprehensive map of genetic mutations occurring in the second-most common form of brain cancer, oligodendroglioma. [Press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine discussing online prepublication in Science]

Brain Electrical Activity Spurs Insulation of Brain’s Wiring
Researchers have discovered in mice a molecular trigger that initiates myelination. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in Science]

And Fire! – How Nerve Cells Are Kept Up to Speed
Scientists have unraveled a mechanism involved in the reformation of neurotransmitter containing membrane vesicles in the brain. [Press release from the Freie Universität Berlin discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

Molecular Mechanisms Offer Hope for New Pain Treatments
By working with individuals suffering from a severe disorder that causes sensory neurons to degenerate, researchers have discovered how a specific genetic mutation causes their patients’ condition, which in turn has revealed more information about the mechanisms in our bodies which enable us to sense pain. [Press release from the Université de Montréal discussing online prepublication in the American Journal of Human Genetics]

Drug to Prevent Alzheimer’s “Within Six Years”
A new drug to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease could be tested on patients within six years according to researchers. [Lancaster University Press Release]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis Buffers Stress Responses and Depressive Behavior
Here researchers show that adult-born hippocampal neurons are required for normal expression of the endocrine and behavioral components of the stress response. [Nature]

Directed Conversion of Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Skin Fibroblasts into Functional Neurons
Here, researchers describe the efficient generation of human-induced neuronal cells from adult skin fibroblasts of unaffected individuals and Alzheimer’s patients, using virally transduced transcription regulators and extrinsic support factors. [Cell]

Mutations in CIC and FUBP1 Contribute to Human Oligodendroglioma
Oligodendrogliomas are the second most common malignant brain tumor in adults and exhibit characteristic losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q. To identify the molecular genetic basis for this alteration, researchers performed exomic sequencing of seven tumors. [Science]

Cartilage Acidic Protein–1B (LOTUS), an Endogenous Nogo Receptor Antagonist for Axon Tract Formation
The findings suggest that endogenous antagonism of NgR1 by lateral olfactory tract (LOT) usher substance (LOTUS) is crucial for normal LOT formation. [Science]

Control of Local Protein Synthesis and Initial Events in Myelination by Action Potentials
Researchers find that release of glutamate from synaptic vesicles along axons of mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons in culture promotes myelin induction by stimulating formation of cholesterol-rich signaling domains between oligodendrocytes and axons, and increasing local synthesis of the major protein in the myelin sheath, myelin basic protein, through Fyn kinase-dependent signaling. [Science]

Autophagy in Hypothalamic AgRP Neurons Regulates Food Intake and Energy Balance
Here investigators demonstrate a role for autophagy in hypothalamic agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons in the regulation of food intake and energy balance. [Cell Metab]

Hippocampal CA1 Pyramidal Cells Form Functionally Distinct Sublayers
Researchers found robust differences between pyramidal neurons residing in the deep and superficial CA1 sublayers in rats. [Nat Neurosci]

KIF1A, an Axonal Transporter of Synaptic Vesicles, Is Mutated in Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy Type 2
Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, researchers found that KIF1A, an axonal transporter of synaptic vesicles, interacts with the domain encoded by the HSN2 exon. [Am J Hum Genet]

SNARE Motif-Mediated Sorting of Synaptobrevin by the Endocytic Adaptors Clathrin Assembly Lymphoid Myeloid Leukemia (CALM) and AP180 at Synapses
Here researchers show that synaptobrevin 2 sorting involves determinants within its soluble NSF attachment protein receptor (SNARE) motif that are recognized by the ANTH domains of the endocytic adaptors AP180 and clathrin assembly lymphoid myeloid leukemia. [Proc Nat Acad Sci USA]

Pool-Specific Regulation of Motor Neuron Survival by Neurotrophic Support
The results demonstrate the exquisite degree to which outcomes of signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases are regulated on a cell-by-cell basis. They also provide a model for one way in which the multiplicity of neurotrophic factors may allow for regulation of motor neuron numbers in a pool-specific manner. [J Neurosci]


Leading Scientists Awarded $1.5 Million in NARSAD Grants by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in fifteen NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grants to fund highly esteemed scientists for research on brain and behavior disorders. [Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Press Release]

Oxford BioMedica Announces Interim Data from Highest (5x) Dose Cohort in ProSavin® Phase I/II Study in Parkinson’s Disease
Oxford BioMedica plc announced positive interim data from the on-going Phase I/II trial of ProSavin® for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. [Oxford BioMedica plc 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 Screening Stem Cells 2011: From Reprogramming to Regenerative Medicine
September 26-27, 2011
Boston, United States

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