SciCombinator

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Journal: Developmental neurobiology

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Axons and growth cones, by their very nature far removed from the cell body, encounter unique environments and require distinct populations of proteins. It seems only natural, then, that they have developed mechanisms to locally synthesize a host of proteins required to perform their specialized functions. Acceptance of this ability has taken decades; however, there is now consensus that axons do indeed have the capacity for local translation, and that this capacity is even retained into adulthood. Accumulating evidence supports the role of locally synthesized proteins in the proper development, maintenance, and function of neurons, and newly emerging studies also suggest that disruption in this process has implications in a number of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we briefly review the long history of axonal mRNA localization and local translation, and the role that these locally synthesized proteins play in normal neuronal function. Additionally, we highlight the emerging evidence that dysregulation in these processes contributes to a wide range of pathophysiology, including neuropsychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s, and motor neuron diseases such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Action potential, Neurology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Axon, Synapse

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Here will review current evidence regarding the signaling pathways and mechanisms underlying membrane addition at sites of active growth during axon formation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder with a well-described, known genetic etiology. In contrast to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), WS has a unique phenotype characterized by global reductions in IQ and visuospatial ability, with relatively preserved language function, enhanced reactivity to social stimuli and music, and an unusual eagerness to interact socially with strangers. A duplication of the deleted region in WS has been implicated in a subset of ASD cases, defining a spectrum of genetic and behavioral variation at this locus defined by these opposite extremes in social behavior. The hypersociability characteristic of WS may be linked to abnormalities of frontostriatal circuitry that manifest as deficits in inhibitory control of behavior. Here, we examined the density of neurons and glia in associative and limbic territories of the striatum including the caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens regions in Nissl stained sections in five pairs of age, sex, and hemisphere-matched WS and typically-developing control (TD) subjects. In contrast to what is reported in ASD, no significant increase in overall neuron density was observed in this study. However, we found a significant increase in the density of glia in the dorsal caudate nucleus, and in the ratio of glia to neurons in the dorsal and medial caudate nucleus in WS, accompanied by a significant increase in density of oligodendrocytes in the medial caudate nucleus. These cellular abnormalities may underlie reduced frontostriatal activity observed in WS, with implications for understanding altered connectivity and function in ASD. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Nervous system, Basal ganglia, Substantia nigra, Autism, Asperger syndrome, Striatum, Putamen, Neurodevelopmental disorder

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Song control nuclei have distinct sexual differences in songbirds. However, the mechanism that underlies the sexual differentiation of song nuclei is still not well understood. Using a combination of anatomical, pharmacological, genetic, and behavioral approaches, the present study investigated the role of erbb2 (a homolog of the avian erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2) and the erbb2-interacting gene, erbin, in the sexual differentiation of the song nucleus HVC in the Bengalese finch. We first found that both erbin and erbb2 were expressed in the developing HVC at post-hatch day (PHD) 15 in a male-biased fashion using qRT-PCR and in situ hybridization. Following the addition of a pharmaceutical inhibitor of the ErbB2 signaling pathway to the culture medium, cell proliferation in the cultured ventricle zone (VZ) that overlies the developing HVC decreased significantly. After the injection of erbin- or erbb2-interfering lentiviruses into the HVC and its overlying VZ at PHD 15, the cell proliferation in the VZ at PHD 24, the number of the differentiated neurons (Hu(+) /BrdU(+) or NeuN(+) /BrdU(+) ) in the HVC at PHD 31 or PHD 130, and the number of RA-projecting cells at PHD 130 all decreased significantly. Additionally, the adult songs displayed serious abnormalities. Finally, 173 male-biased genes were expressed in the developing HVC at PHD 15 using cDNA microarrays, of which 27.2% were Z-linked genes and approximately 20 genes were involved in the Erbin- or ErbB2-related signaling pathways. Our results provide some specific genetic factors that contribute to neurogenesis and sex differentiation in a song nucleus of songbirds. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Cell, Bacteria

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Myelin is important for the normal development and healthy function of the nervous system. Recent developments in MRI acquisition and tissue modelling aim to provide a better characterization and more specific markers for myelin. This allows for specific monitoring of myelination longitudinally and non-invasively in the healthy brain as well as assessment of treatment and intervention efficacy. Here we offer a non-technical review of MRI techniques developed to specifically monitor myelin such as magnetization transfer (MT) and myelin water imaging (MWI). We further summarize recent studies that employ these methods to measure myelin in relation to development and aging, learning and experience, and neuropathology and psychiatric disorders. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Neuron, Brain, Neuroscience, Axon, Myelin

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The compound eyes of adult stomatopod crustaceans have two to six ommatidial rows at the equator, called the midband, that are often specialized for color and polarization vision. Beneath the retina, this midband specialization is represented as enlarged optic lobe lamina cartridges and a hernia-like expansion in the medulla. We studied how the optic lobe transforms from the larvae, which possess typical crustacean larval compound eyes without a specialized midband, through metamorphosis into the adults with the midband in a two midband-row species Alima pacifica. Using histological staining, immunolabeling, and 3D reconstruction, we show that the last-stage stomatopod larvae possess double-retina eyes, in which the developing adult visual system forms adjacent to, but separate from, the larval visual system. Beneath the two retinas, the optic lobe also contains two sets of optic neuropils, comprising of a larval lamina, medulla, and lobula, as well as an adult lamina, medulla, and lobula. The larval eye and all larval optic neuropils degenerate and disappear approximately a week after metamorphosis. In stomatopods, the unique adult visual system and all optic neuropils develop alongside the larval system in the eyestalk of last-stage larvae, where two visual systems and two independent visual processing pathways coexist. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Brain, Crustacean, Retina, Eye, Visual perception, Visual system, Rod cell, Optic nerve

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The α2-glycine receptors (GlyRs) play important roles during early central nervous system development. However, these receptors' possible involvement in neurodevelopmental events occurring in the adult brain remains to be explored. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) is the process by which new granule cell neurons are added to the dentate gyrus (DG) throughout adulthood. In this study, we observed that hippocampal adult neural stem cells (ANSCs) express α2-containing GlyRs. Pharmacological inhibition of GlyRs by strychnine or picrotoxin decreased the proliferation of ANSCs, both in vivo and in vitro. Mice knockout for glra2, the gene coding for the GlyR α2 subunit, were determined to display impaired AHN, and this phenomenon was accompanied by deficits in spatial memory. These results, which reveal neurodevelopmental roles for α2-GlyRs in the adult brain, may be clinically relevant, given that a mutation in GLAR2, as well as AHN impairments, have been reported in autism spectrum disorder. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Neuron, Brain, Hippocampus, Dentate gyrus, Neurogenesis, Granule cell

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In the brain, the extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a central role during neural development and thus modulates critical-period regulated behavioral ontogeny. The major components of the ECM are glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) including chondroitin sulfate (CS). However, the specific roles of GAGs in behavioral development are largely unknown. It has been shown that xylosides affect the biological functions of GAGs through modulating GAG biosynthesis. Particularly, xylosides affect GAG biosynthesis through priming of GAG chains (priming activity), competing with endogenous core proteins that carry GAG initiation sites (decoy activity), or both. Using birdsong as our model, we investigated, for the first time, how xyloside mediated modulation of GAG biogenesis affects song development. Xylosides infused into motor cortex of juvenile birds alter song development by specifically affecting ontogeny of the stereotyped sequence rather than the acoustic structure of syllables. Further analyses reveal that observed changes can be attributed to the priming activity rather than the decoy activity of xylosides. Collectively these results suggest that regulation of GAG biogenesis through chemical biology approaches may allow promising therapeutic interventions of critical-period dependent central nervous system plasticity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Chondroitin sulfate, Proteoglycan, Glycosaminoglycan

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Early adverse life-stress has been associated to behavioral disorders that can manifest as inappropriate or aggressive responses to social challenges. In this study, we analyzed the effects of artificial rearing on the open field and burial behavioral tests and on GFAP, c-Fos immunoreactivity and glucose metabolism measured in anxiety related brain areas. Artificial rearing of male rats was performed by supplying artificial milk through a cheek cannula and tactile stimulation, mimicking the mother’s licking to rat pups from the 4(th) postnatal day until weaning. Tactile stimulation was applied twice a day, at morning and at night, by means of a camel brush on the rat anogenital area. As compared to mother reared rats, greater aggressiveness and boldness, stereotyped behavior (burial conduct) was observed in artificially reared rats which occurred in parallel to a reduction of GFAP immunoreactivity in somatosensory cortex, c-Fos immunoreactivity at the amygdala and primary somatosensory cortex, as well as lower metabolism in amygdala (as measured by 2-deoxi-2-[(18) Fluoro]-D-glucose uptake, assessed by microPET imaging). These results could suggest that tactile and/or chemical stimuli from the mother and littermates carry relevant information for the proper development of the central nervous system, particularly in brain areas involved with emotions and social relationships of the rat. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Brain, Cerebrum, Cerebellum, Somatosensory system, Behavior

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Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling plays a major role in vertebrate development, from regulation of proliferation to the patterning of various organs. In amniotes, Shh affects dorsoventral patterning in the inner ear but affects anteroposterior patterning in teleosts. Currently, it remains unknown the function of Shh in inner ear development in terms of how morphogenesis changes in the sarcopterygian/tetrapod lineage coincide with the evolution of limbs and novel auditory organs in the ear. In this study we used the tetrapod, Xenopus laevis, to test how increasing concentrations of the Shh signal pathway antagonist, Vismodegib, affects ear development. Vismodegib treatment dose dependently alters the development of the ear, hypaxial muscle, and indirectly the Mauthner cell through its interaction with the inner ear afferents. Together, these phenotypes have an effect on escape response. The altered Mauthner cell likely contributes to the increased time to respond to a stimulus. In addition, the increased hypaxial muscle in the trunk likely contributes to the subtle change in animal C-start flexion angle. In the ear, Vismodegib treatment results in decreasing segregation between the gravistatic sensory epithelia as the concentration of Vismodegib increases. Furthermore, at higher doses, there is a loss of the horizontal canal but no enantiomorphic transformation, as in bony fish lacking Shh. Like in amniotes, Shh signaling in frogs affects dorsoventral patterning in the ear, suggesting that auditory sensory evolution in sarcopterygians/tetrapods evolved with a shift of Shh axis specification of the ear. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Evolution, Auditory system, Ear, Inner ear, Tetrapod, Sonic hedgehog, Copyright, Frog