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Concept: Suppression of dissent


Cholinergic neuromodulation plays key roles in the regulation of neuronal excitability, network activity, arousal, and behavior. On longer time scales, cholinergic systems play essential roles in cortical development, maturation, and plasticity. Presumably, these processes are associated with substantial synaptic remodeling, yet to date, long-term relationships between cholinergic tone and synaptic remodeling remain largely unknown. Here we used automated microscopy combined with multielectrode array recordings to study long-term relationships between cholinergic tone, excitatory synapse remodeling, and network activity characteristics in networks of cortical neurons grown on multielectrode array substrates. Experimental elevations of cholinergic tone led to the abrupt suppression of episodic synchronous bursting activity (but not of general activity), followed by a gradual growth of excitatory synapses over hours. Subsequent blockage of cholinergic receptors led to an immediate restoration of synchronous bursting and the gradual reversal of synaptic growth. Neither synaptic growth nor downsizing was governed by multiplicative scaling rules. Instead, these occurred in a subset of synapses, irrespective of initial synaptic size. Synaptic growth seemed to depend on intrinsic network activity, but not on the degree to which bursting was suppressed. Intriguingly, sustained elevations of cholinergic tone were associated with a gradual recovery of synchronous bursting but not with a reversal of synaptic growth. These findings show that cholinergic tone can strongly affect synaptic remodeling and synchronous bursting activity, but do not support a strict coupling between the two. Finally, the reemergence of synchronous bursting in the presence of elevated cholinergic tone indicates that the capacity of cholinergic neuromodulation to indefinitely suppress synchronous bursting might be inherently limited.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Action potential, Cerebral cortex, Chemical synapse, Cholinergic, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


A somatic activating mutation in AKT1, c.49G>A, pGlu17Lys, that results in elevated AKT signaling in mutation-positive cells, is responsible for the mosaic overgrowth condition, Proteus syndrome. ARQ 092 is an allosteric pan-AKT inhibitor under development for treatment in cancer. We tested the efficacy of this drug for suppressing AKT signaling in cells and tissues from patients with Proteus syndrome. ARQ 092 reduced phosphorylation of AKT and downstream targets of AKT in a concentration-dependent manner in as little as two hours. While AKT signaling was suppressed with ARQ 092 treatment, cells retained their ability to respond to growth factor stimulation by increasing pAKT levels proportionally to untreated cells. At concentrations sufficient to decrease AKT signaling, little reduction in cell viability was seen. These results indicate that ARQ 092 can suppress AKT signaling and warrants further development as a therapeutic option for patients with Proteus syndrome.

Concepts: DNA, Adenosine triphosphate, Electrochemistry, AKT, Suppression, Suppression of dissent, PTEN, Proteus


Anthracnose is a fungal disease caused by Colletotrichum species that is detrimental to numerous plant species. Anthracnose control with fungicides has both human health and environmental safety implications. Despite increasing public concerns, fungicide use will continue in the absence of viable alternatives. There have been relatively less efforts to search antagonistic bacteria from mudflats harboring microbial diversity. A total of 420 bacterial strains were isolated from mudflats near the western sea of South Korea. Five bacterial strains, LB01, LB14, HM03, HM17, and LB15, were characterized as having antifungal properties in the presence of C. acutatum and C. gloeosporioides. The three Bacillus atrophaeus strains, LB14, HM03, and HM17, produced large quantities of chitinase and protease enzymes, whereas the B. amyloliquefaciens strain LB01 produced protease and cellulase enzymes. Two important antagonistic traits, siderophore production and solubilization of insoluble phosphate, were observed in the three B. atrophaeus strains. Analyses of disease suppression revealed that LB14 was most effective for suppressing the incidence of anthracnose symptoms on pepper fruits. LB14 produced antagonistic compounds and suppressed conidial germination of C. acutatum and C. gloeosporioides. The results from the present study will provide a basis for developing a reliable alternative to fungicides for anthracnose control.

Concepts: Bacteria, Enzyme, Microbiology, Suppression, Suppression of dissent, Colletotrichum, Fungicides, Colletotrichum acutatum


In patients with cancer, the wasting syndrome, cachexia, is associated with caloric deficiency. Here, we describe tumor-induced alterations of the host metabolic response to caloric deficiency that cause intratumoral immune suppression. In pre-cachectic mice with transplanted colorectal cancer or autochthonous pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), we find that IL-6 reduces the hepatic ketogenic potential through suppression of PPARalpha, the transcriptional master regulator of ketogenesis. When these mice are challenged with caloric deficiency, the resulting relative hypoketonemia triggers a marked rise in glucocorticoid levels. Multiple intratumoral immune pathways are suppressed by this hormonal stress response. Moreover, administering corticosterone to elevate plasma corticosterone to a level that is lower than that occurring in cachectic mice abolishes the response of mouse PDA to an immunotherapy that has advanced to clinical trials. Therefore, tumor-induced IL-6 impairs the ketogenic response to reduced caloric intake, resulting in a systemic metabolic stress response that blocks anti-cancer immunotherapy.

Concepts: Immune system, Metabolism, Immunology, Colorectal cancer, Cachexia, Ketone bodies, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


Efference copies refer to internal duplicates of movement-producing neural signals. Their primary function is to predict, and often suppress, the sensory consequences of willed movements. Efference copies have been almost exclusively investigated in the context of overt movements. The current electrophysiological study employed a novel design to show that inner speech - the silent production of words in one’s mind - is also associated with an efference copy. Participants produced an inner phoneme at a precisely specified time, at which an audible phoneme was concurrently presented. The production of the inner phoneme resulted in electrophysiological suppression, but only if the content of the inner phoneme matched the content of the audible phoneme. These results demonstrate that inner speech - a purely mental action - is associated with an efference copy with detailed auditory properties. These findings suggest that inner speech may ultimately reflect a special type of overt speech.

Concepts: Neuron, Ion channel, Electrophysiology, Neuroscience, Novel, Neurophysiology, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


Brain-activity markers of guilty knowledge have been promoted as accurate and reliable measures for establishing criminal culpability. Tests based on these markers interpret the presence or absence of memory-related neural activity as diagnostic of whether or not incriminating information is stored in a suspect’s brain. This conclusion critically relies on the untested assumption that reminders of a crime uncontrollably elicit memory-related brain activity. However, recent research indicates that, in some circumstances, humans can control whether they remember a previous experience by intentionally suppressing retrieval. We examined whether people could use retrieval suppression to conceal neural evidence of incriminating memories as indexed by Event-Related Potentials (ERPs). When people were motivated to suppress crime retrieval, their memory-related ERP effects were significantly decreased, allowing guilty individuals to evade detection. Our findings indicate that brain measures of guilty knowledge may be under criminals' intentional control and place limits on their use in legal settings.

Concepts: Neuroscience, Crime, Criminal law, Morality, Criminology, Criminal justice, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


When animals and their offspring are threatened, parents switch from self-defense to offspring protection. How self-defense is suppressed remains elusive. We postulated that suppression of the self-defense response, freezing, is gated via oxytocin acting in the centro-lateral amygdala (CeL). We found that rat dams conditioned to fear an odor, froze when tested alone, whereas if pups were present, they remained in close contact with them or targeted the threat. Furthermore, blocking oxytocin signaling in the CeL prevented the suppression of maternal freezing. Finally, pups exposed to the odor in the presence of the conditioned dam later froze when re-exposed alone. However, if oxytocin signaling in the dam had been blocked, pups failed to learn. This study provides a functional role for the well-described action of oxytocin in the central amygdala, and demonstrates that self-defense suppression allows for active pup protection and mother-pup interactions crucial for pup threat learning.

Concepts: Psychology, Amygdala, Learning, Dam, The Central, Freezing, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


Remembering a past experience can, surprisingly, cause forgetting. Forgetting arises when other competing traces interfere with retrieval and inhibitory control mechanisms are engaged to suppress the distraction they cause. This form of forgetting is considered to be adaptive because it reduces future interference. The effect of this proposed inhibition process on competing memories has, however, never been observed, as behavioral methods are ‘blind’ to retrieval dynamics and neuroimaging methods have not isolated retrieval of individual memories. We developed a canonical template tracking method to quantify the activation state of individual target memories and competitors during retrieval. This method revealed that repeatedly retrieving target memories suppressed cortical patterns unique to competitors. Pattern suppression was related to engagement of prefrontal regions that have been implicated in resolving retrieval competition and, critically, predicted later forgetting. Thus, our findings demonstrate a cortical pattern suppression mechanism through which remembering adaptively shapes which aspects of our past remain accessible.

Concepts: Scientific method, Competition, Perfect competition, Future, Neuroscience, Suppression, Suppression of dissent


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between sensory hyperexcitability as revealed by giant SEPs and the SEP recovery function (SEP-R) in a series of patient with progressive myoclonic epilepsy of Unverricht-Lundborg type, identified as epilepsy, progressive myoclonic 1A (EPM1A), MIM #254800. METHODS: We evaluated SEPs by applying median nerve stimuli and SEP-R using paired stimuli at inter-stimulus intervals (ISIs) of between 20 and 600ms in 25 patients and 20 controls. The SEPs were considered “giant” if the N20P25 and P25N33 amplitudes exceeded normal mean values by +3SD. RESULTS: During the paired-stimulus protocol, the SEPs elicited by the second stimulus (S2) were detectable at all ISIs but consistently suppressed in the 13 patients with giant SEPs reflecting a significantly delayed SEP-R. Maximal suppression roughly corresponded to the plateau of a broad middle latency (>100ms) wave pertaining to the S1 response. CONCLUSIONS: The cortical processing dysfunction generating giant SEPs in EPM1A patients consistently combines with a long-lasting suppression of hyperexcitability that leads to a delayed giant SEP-R without obstructing the response to incoming stimuli. SIGNIFICANCE: The delayed SEP-R is not due to true inhibition but the suppression of aberrant hyper-synchronisation sustaining giant SEPs. A broad middle latency SEP component adds a significantly suppressive effect. This suggests that cortico-subcortical circuitries contribute to both the gigantism and the delayed SEP-R.

Concepts: Median, Epilepsy, Mean, Normal distribution, Myoclonus, Suppression of dissent, Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, Unverricht-Lundborg disease


HIV-1 immunotherapy with a combination of first generation monoclonal antibodies was largely ineffective in pre-clinical and clinical settings and was therefore abandoned. However, recently developed single-cell-based antibody cloning methods have uncovered a new generation of far more potent broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 (refs 4, 5). These antibodies can prevent infection and suppress viraemia in humanized mice and nonhuman primates, but their potential for human HIV-1 immunotherapy has not been evaluated. Here we report the results of a first-in-man dose escalation phase 1 clinical trial of 3BNC117, a potent human CD4 binding site antibody, in uninfected and HIV-1-infected individuals. 3BNC117 infusion was well tolerated and demonstrated favourable pharmacokinetics. A single 30 mg kg(-1) infusion of 3BNC117 reduced the viral load in HIV-1-infected individuals by 0.8-2.5 log10 and viraemia remained significantly reduced for 28 days. Emergence of resistant viral strains was variable, with some individuals remaining sensitive to 3BNC117 for a period of 28 days. We conclude that, as a single agent, 3BNC117 is safe and effective in reducing HIV-1 viraemia, and that immunotherapy should be explored as a new modality for HIV-1 prevention, therapy and cure.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Medicine, Neutralizing antibody, Monoclonal antibodies, Primate, Antibodies, Suppression of dissent