ResearchPad - neurons https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Early correction of synaptic long-term depression improves abnormal anxiety-like behavior in adult GluN2B-C456Y-mutant mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13831 Mice that carry a heterozygous, autism spectrum disorder-risk C456Y mutation in the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) subunit GluN2B show decreased protein levels, hippocampal NMDAR currents, and NMDAR-dependent long-term depression and have abnormal anxiolytic-like behavior. Early, but not late, treatment of the young mice with the NMDAR agonist D-cycloserine rescues these phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Inferring a simple mechanism for alpha-blocking by fitting a neural population model to EEG spectra]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13836 One of the most striking features of the human electroencephalogram (EEG) is the presence of neural oscillations in the range of 8-13 Hz. It is well known that attenuation of these alpha oscillations, a process known as alpha blocking, arises from opening of the eyes, though the cause has remained obscure. In this study we infer the mechanism underlying alpha blocking by fitting a neural population model to EEG spectra from 82 different individuals. Although such models have long held the promise of being able to relate macroscopic recordings of brain activity to microscopic neural parameters, their utility has been limited by the difficulty of inferring these parameters from fits to data. Our approach involves fitting eyes-open and eyes-closed EEG spectra in a way that minimizes unnecessary differences in model parameters between the two states. Surprisingly, we find that changes in just one parameter, the level of external input to the inhibitory neurons in cortex, is sufficient to explain the attenuation of alpha oscillations. This indicates that opening of the eyes reduces alpha activity simply by increasing external inputs to the inhibitory neurons in the cortex.

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<![CDATA[Low-rate firing limit for neurons with axon, soma and dendrites driven by spatially distributed stochastic synapses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13830 Neurons are extended cells with multiple branching dendrites, a cell body and an axon. In an active neuronal network, neurons receive vast numbers of incoming synaptic pulses throughout their dendrites and cell body that each exhibit significant variability in amplitude and arrival time. The resulting synaptic input causes voltage fluctuations throughout their structure that evolve in space and time. The dynamics of how these signals are integrated and how they ultimately trigger outgoing spikes have been modelled extensively since the late 1960s. However, until relatively recently the majority of the mathematical formulae describing how fluctuating synaptic drive triggers action potentials have been applicable only for small neurons with the dendritic and axonal structure ignored. This has been largely due to the mathematical complexity of including the effects of spatially distributed synaptic input. Here we show that in a physiologically relevant, low-firing-rate regime, an approximate level-crossing approach can be used to provide an estimate for the neuronal firing rate even when the dendrites and axons are included. We illustrate this approach using basic neuronal morphologies that capture the fundamentals of neuronal structure. Though the models are simple, these preliminary results show that it is possible to obtain useful formulae that capture the effects of spatially distributed synaptic drive. The generality of these results suggests they will provide a mathematical framework for future studies that might require the structure of neurons to be taken into account, such as the effect of electrical fields or multiple synaptic input streams that target distinct spatial domains of cortical pyramidal cells.

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<![CDATA[Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7872 When others stop and silence ensues, animals respond as if threatened. This study highlights the brain areas involved in listening to the dangerous silence.

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<![CDATA[The qualitative assessment of optical coherence tomography and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7697 To analyze the relationships between qualitative and quantitative parameters of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).Materials and methodsNinety-three eyes of 93 patients were finally enrolled, with a median age (quartile) of 58 (24.5) years. We assessed the patients using SD-OCT and the 10–2 program of a Humphry Field Analyzer (HFA). As a qualitative parameter, two graders independently classified the patients’ SD-OCT images into five severity grades (grades 1–5) based on the severity of damage to the photoreceptor inner and outer segments (IS/OS) layer. As quantitative parameters, we measured the IS-ellipsoid zone (IS-EZ) width, IS/OS thickness, outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness, central macular thickness (CMT, 1 and 3 mm) and macular cube (6 × 6 mm) volume and thickness. The central retinal sensitivity was defined by the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA; logMAR), average sensitivities of the central 4 (foveal sensitivity [FS]) and 12 (macular sensitivity [MS]) points of the HFA 10–2 program and the mean deviation (MD) of the 10–2 program. Spearman’s correlation was used to assess the association between both qualitative and quantitative parameters and variables of the central retinal sensitivity. In addition, we performed a multiple regression analysis using these parameters to identify the parameters most strongly influencing the central retinal sensitivity.ResultsThe IS/OS severity grade was significantly correlated with the BCVA (ρ = 0.741, P < 0.001), FS (ρ = −0.844, P < 0.001), MS (ρ = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (ρ = −0.681, P < 0.001) and showed stronger correlations to them than any other quantitative parameters including the IS-EZ width, IS/OS thickness, ONL thickness, CMTs and macular cube volume/thickness. Furthermore, a step-wise multiple regression analysis indicated that the IS/OS severity grade was more strongly associated with the BCVA (β = 0.659, P < 0.001), FS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001), MS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (β = −0.674, P < 0.001) than any other quantitative parameters. The intraclass correlation coefficient between two graders indicated substantial correlation (κ = 0.70).DiscussionThe qualitative grading of OCT based on the severity of the IS/OS layer was simple and strongly correlated with the central retinal sensitivity in patients with RP. It may be useful to assess the central visual function in patients with RP, although there is some variation in severity within the same severity grade. ]]> <![CDATA[An electrodiffusive, ion conserving Pinsky-Rinzel model with homeostatic mechanisms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7780 Neurons generate their electrical signals by letting ions pass through their membranes. Despite this fact, most models of neurons apply the simplifying assumption that ion concentrations remain effectively constant during neural activity. This assumption is often quite good, as neurons contain a set of homeostatic mechanisms that make sure that ion concentrations vary quite little under normal circumstances. However, under some conditions, these mechanisms can fail, and ion concentrations can vary quite dramatically. Standard models are thus not able to simulate such conditions. Here, we present what to our knowledge is the first multicompartmental neuron model that accounts for ion concentration variations in a way that ensures complete and consistent ion concentration and charge conservation. In this work, we use the model to explore under which activity conditions the ion concentration variations become important for predicting the neurodynamics. We expect the model to be of great value for the field of neuroscience, as it can be used to simulate a range of pathological conditions, such as spreading depression or epilepsy, which are associated with large changes in extracellular ion concentrations.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Neuroprotective effects of exogenous erythropoietin in Wistar rats by downregulating apoptotic factors to attenuate N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated retinal ganglion cells death]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N85685bba-c047-422b-abfc-358a98ed1fe7

The aim of this study was to investigate whether exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) administration attenuates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-mediated excitotoxic retinal damage in Wistar rats. The survival rate of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were investigated by flat mount analysis and flow cytometry. A total of 125 male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to five groups: negative control, NMDA80 (i.e., 80 nmoles NMDA intravitreally injected), NMDA80 + 10ng EPO, NMDA80 + 50ng EPO, and NMDA80 + 250ng EPO. The NMDA80 + 50ng EPO treatment group was used to evaluate various administrated points (pre-/co-/post- administration of NMDA80). Meanwhile, the transferase dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) assay of RGCs, the inner plexiform layer (IPL) thickness and the apoptotic signal transduction pathways of μ-calpain, Bax, and caspase 9 were assessed simultaneously using an immunohistochemical method (IHC). When EPO was co-administered with NMDA80, attenuated cell death occurred through the downregulation of the apoptotic indicators: μ-calpain was activated first (peak at ~18hrs), followed by Bax and caspase 9 (peak at ~40hrs). Furthermore, the images of retinal cross sections have clearly demonstrated that thickness of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) was significantly recovered at 40 hours after receiving intravitreal injection with NMDA80 and 50ng EPO. Exogenous EPO may protect RGCs and bipolar cell axon terminals in IPL by downregulating apoptotic factors to attenuate NMDA-mediated excitotoxic retinal damage.

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<![CDATA[Activity-dependent switches between dynamic regimes of extracellular matrix expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndfacbadd-d1b4-4759-ab64-7c15dc34928b

Experimental studies highlight the important role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic connectivity in the nervous system. In its turn, the neural ECM is formed in an activity-dependent manner. Its maturation closes the so-called critical period of neural development, stabilizing the efficient configurations of neural networks in the brain. ECM is locally remodeled by proteases secreted and activated in an activity-dependent manner into the extracellular space and this process is important for physiological synaptic plasticity. We ask if ECM remodeling may be exaggerated under pathological conditions and enable activity-dependent switches between different regimes of ECM expression. We consider an analytical model based on known mechanisms of interaction between neuronal activity and expression of ECM, ECM receptors and ECM degrading proteases. We demonstrate that either inhibitory or excitatory influence of ECM on neuronal activity may lead to the bistability of ECM expression, so two stable stationary states are observed. Noteworthy, only in the case when ECM has predominant inhibitory influence on neurons, the bistability is dependent on the activity of proteases. Excitatory ECM-neuron feedback influences may also result in spontaneous oscillations of ECM expression, which may coexist with a stable stationary state. Thus, ECM-neuronal interactions support switches between distinct dynamic regimes of ECM expression, possibly representing transitions into disease states associated with remodeling of brain ECM.

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<![CDATA[Fuzzy jump wavelet neural network based on rule induction for dynamic nonlinear system identification with real data applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndb8f5881-c148-4c1d-a8e2-b5151d4191da

Aim

Fuzzy wavelet neural network (FWNN) has proven to be a promising strategy in the identification of nonlinear systems. The network considers both global and local properties, deals with imprecision present in sensory data, leading to desired precisions. In this paper, we proposed a new FWNN model nominated “Fuzzy Jump Wavelet Neural Network” (FJWNN) for identifying dynamic nonlinear-linear systems, especially in practical applications.

Methods

The proposed FJWNN is a fuzzy neural network model of the Takagi-Sugeno-Kang type whose consequent part of fuzzy rules is a linear combination of input regressors and dominant wavelet neurons as a sub-jump wavelet neural network. Each fuzzy rule can locally model both linear and nonlinear properties of a system. The linear relationship between the inputs and the output is learned by neurons with linear activation functions, whereas the nonlinear relationship is locally modeled by wavelet neurons. Orthogonal least square (OLS) method and genetic algorithm (GA) are respectively used to purify the wavelets for each sub-JWNN. In this paper, fuzzy rule induction improves the structure of the proposed model leading to less fuzzy rules, inputs of each fuzzy rule and model parameters. The real-world gas furnace and the real electromyographic (EMG) signal modeling problem are employed in our study. In the same vein, piecewise single variable function approximation, nonlinear dynamic system modeling, and Mackey–Glass time series prediction, ratify this method superiority. The proposed FJWNN model is compared with the state-of-the-art models based on some performance indices such as RMSE, RRSE, Rel ERR%, and VAF%.

Results

The proposed FJWNN model yielded the following results: RRSE (mean±std) of 10e-5±6e-5 for piecewise single-variable function approximation, RMSE (mean±std) of 2.6–4±2.6e-4 for the first nonlinear dynamic system modelling, RRSE (mean±std) of 1.59e-3±0.42e-3 for Mackey–Glass time series prediction, RMSE of 0.3421 for gas furnace modelling and VAF% (mean±std) of 98.24±0.71 for the EMG modelling of all trial signals, indicating a significant enhancement over previous methods.

Conclusions

The FJWNN demonstrated promising accuracy and generalization while moderating network complexity. This improvement is due to applying main useful wavelets in combination with linear regressors and using fuzzy rule induction. Compared to the state-of-the-art models, the proposed FJWNN yielded better performance and, therefore, can be considered a novel tool for nonlinear system identification.

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<![CDATA[Electrical synapses regulate both subthreshold integration and population activity of principal cells in response to transient inputs within canonical feedforward circuits]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95e0d5eed0c484734e89

As information about the world traverses the brain, the signals exchanged between neurons are passed and modulated by synapses, or specialized contacts between neurons. While neurotransmitter-based synapses tend to exert either excitatory or inhibitory pulses of influence on the postsynaptic neuron, electrical synapses, composed of plaques of gap junction channels, continuously transmit signals that can either excite or inhibit a coupled neighbor. A growing body of evidence indicates that electrical synapses, similar to their chemical counterparts, are modified in strength during physiological neuronal activity. The synchronizing role of electrical synapses in neuronal oscillations has been well established, but their impact on transient signal processing in the brain is much less understood. Here we constructed computational models based on the canonical feedforward neuronal circuit and included electrical synapses between inhibitory interneurons. We provided discrete closely-timed inputs to the circuits, and characterize the influence of electrical synapse strength on both subthreshold summation and spike trains in the output neuron. Our simulations highlight the diverse and powerful roles that electrical synapses play even in simple circuits. Because these canonical circuits are represented widely throughout the brain, we expect that these are general principles for the influence of electrical synapses on transient signal processing across the brain.

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<![CDATA[Structure and variability of delay activity in premotor cortex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c990204d5eed0c484b9749c

Voluntary movements are widely considered to be planned before they are executed. Recent studies have hypothesized that neural activity in motor cortex during preparation acts as an ‘initial condition’ which seeds the proceeding neural dynamics. Here, we studied these initial conditions in detail by investigating 1) the organization of neural states for different reaches and 2) the variance of these neural states from trial to trial. We examined population-level responses in macaque premotor cortex (PMd) during the preparatory stage of an instructed-delay center-out reaching task with dense target configurations. We found that after target onset the neural activity on single trials converges to neural states that have a clear low-dimensional structure which is organized by both the reach endpoint and maximum speed of the following reach. Further, we found that variability of the neural states during preparation resembles the spatial variability of reaches made in the absence of visual feedback: there is less variability in direction than distance in neural state space. We also used offline decoding to understand the implications of this neural population structure for brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). We found that decoding of angle between reaches is dependent on reach distance, while decoding of arc-length is independent. Thus, it might be more appropriate to quantify decoding performance for discrete BMIs by using arc-length between reach end-points rather than the angle between them. Lastly, we show that in contrast to the common notion that direction can better be decoded than distance, their decoding capabilities are comparable. These results provide new insights into the dynamical neural processes that underline motor control and can inform the design of BMIs.

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<![CDATA[Trpm4 ion channels in pre-Bötzinger complex interneurons are essential for breathing motor pattern but not rhythm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784fa8d5eed0c484007252

Inspiratory breathing movements depend on pre-Bötzinger complex (preBötC) interneurons that express calcium (Ca2+)-activated nonselective cationic current (ICAN) to generate robust neural bursts. Hypothesized to be rhythmogenic, reducing ICAN is predicted to slow down or stop breathing; its contributions to motor pattern would be reflected in the magnitude of movements (output). We tested the role(s) of ICAN using reverse genetic techniques to diminish its putative ion channels Trpm4 or Trpc3 in preBötC neurons in vivo. Adult mice transduced with Trpm4-targeted short hairpin RNA (shRNA) progressively decreased the tidal volume of breaths yet surprisingly increased breathing frequency, often followed by gasping and fatal respiratory failure. Mice transduced with Trpc3-targeted shRNA survived with no changes in breathing. Patch-clamp and field recordings from the preBötC in mouse slices also showed an increase in the frequency and a decrease in the magnitude of preBötC neural bursts in the presence of Trpm4 antagonist 9-phenanthrol, whereas the Trpc3 antagonist pyrazole-3 (pyr-3) showed inconsistent effects on magnitude and no effect on frequency. These data suggest that Trpm4 mediates ICAN, whose influence on frequency contradicts a direct role in rhythm generation. We conclude that Trpm4-mediated ICAN is indispensable for motor output but not the rhythmogenic core mechanism of the breathing central pattern generator.

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<![CDATA[Posterior ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens shell circuitry modulates response to novelty]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823b2d5eed0c484638e5a

Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens from ventral tegmental area (VTA) efferent neurons is critical for orientation and response to novel stimuli in the environment. However, there are considerable differences between neuronal populations of the VTA and it is unclear which specific cell populations modulate behavioral responses to environmental novelty. A retroDREADDs (designer drugs exclusively activated by designer receptors) technique, comprising designer G protein-coupled receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs and modulated by retrograde transported Cre, was used to selectively stimulate neurons of the VTA which project to the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh). First, the selectivity and expression of the human M3 muscarinic receptor-based adeno-associated virus (AAV-hM3D) was confirmed in primary neuronal cell cultures. Second, AAV-CMV-GFP/Cre was infused into the AcbSh and AAV-hSyn-DIO-hM3D(Gq)-mCherry (a presynaptic enhancer in the presence of its cognate ligand clozapine-N-oxide) was infused into the VTA of ovariectomized female Fisher 344 rats to elicit hM3D(Gq)-mCherry production specifically in neurons of the VTA which synapse in the AcbSh. Finally, administration of clozapine-N-oxide significantly altered rodents’ response to novelty (e.g. absence of white background noise) by activation of hM3D(Gq) receptors, without altering gross locomotor activity or auditory processing per se. Confocal imaging confirmed production of mCherry in neurons of the posterior aspect of the VTA (pVTA) suggesting these neurons contribute to novelty responses. These results suggest the pVTA-AcbSh circuit is potentially altered in motivational disorders such as apathy, depression, and drug addiction. Targeting the pVTA-AcbSh circuit, therefore, may be an effective target for pharmacological management of such psychopathologies.

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<![CDATA[Tuft dendrites of pyramidal neurons operate as feedback-modulated functional subunits]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897706d5eed0c4847d22c8

Dendrites of pyramidal cells exhibit complex morphologies and contain a variety of ionic conductances, which generate non-trivial integrative properties. Basal and proximal apical dendrites have been shown to function as independent computational subunits within a two-layer feedforward processing scheme. The outputs of the subunits are linearly summed and passed through a final non-linearity. It is an open question whether this mathematical abstraction can be applied to apical tuft dendrites as well. Using a detailed compartmental model of CA1 pyramidal neurons and a novel theoretical framework based on iso-response methods, we first show that somatic sub-threshold responses to brief synaptic inputs cannot be described by a two-layer feedforward model. Then, we relax the core assumption of subunit independence and introduce non-linear feedback from the output layer to the subunit inputs. We find that additive feedback alone explains the somatic responses to synaptic inputs to most of the branches in the apical tuft. Individual dendritic branches bidirectionally modulate the thresholds of their input-output curves without significantly changing the gains. In contrast to these findings for precisely timed inputs, we show that neuronal computations based on firing rates can be accurately described by purely feedforward two-layer models. Our findings support the view that dendrites of pyramidal neurons possess non-linear analog processing capabilities that critically depend on the location of synaptic inputs. The iso-response framework proposed in this computational study is highly efficient and could be directly applied to biological neurons.

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<![CDATA[Efficient neural decoding of self-location with a deep recurrent network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c70678ed5eed0c4847c7217

Place cells in the mammalian hippocampus signal self-location with sparse spatially stable firing fields. Based on observation of place cell activity it is possible to accurately decode an animal’s location. The precision of this decoding sets a lower bound for the amount of information that the hippocampal population conveys about the location of the animal. In this work we use a novel recurrent neural network (RNN) decoder to infer the location of freely moving rats from single unit hippocampal recordings. RNNs are biologically plausible models of neural circuits that learn to incorporate relevant temporal context without the need to make complicated assumptions about the use of prior information to predict the current state. When decoding animal position from spike counts in 1D and 2D-environments, we show that the RNN consistently outperforms a standard Bayesian approach with either flat priors or with memory. In addition, we also conducted a set of sensitivity analysis on the RNN decoder to determine which neurons and sections of firing fields were the most influential. We found that the application of RNNs to neural data allowed flexible integration of temporal context, yielding improved accuracy relative to the more commonly used Bayesian approaches and opens new avenues for exploration of the neural code.

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<![CDATA[Endothelin receptor Aa regulates proliferation and differentiation of Erb-dependent pigment progenitors in zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c68d5eed0c484ad88f6

Skin pigment patterns are important, being under strong selection for multiple roles including camouflage and UV protection. Pigment cells underlying these patterns form from adult pigment stem cells (APSCs). In zebrafish, APSCs derive from embryonic neural crest cells, but sit dormant until activated to produce pigment cells during metamorphosis. The APSCs are set-aside in an ErbB signaling dependent manner, but the mechanism maintaining quiescence until metamorphosis remains unknown. Mutants for a pigment pattern gene, parade, exhibit ectopic pigment cells localised to the ventral trunk, but also supernumerary cells restricted to the Ventral Stripe. Contrary to expectations, these melanocytes and iridophores are discrete cells, but closely apposed. We show that parade encodes Endothelin receptor Aa, expressed in the blood vessels, most prominently in the medial blood vessels, consistent with the ventral trunk phenotype. We provide evidence that neuronal fates are not affected in parade mutants, arguing against transdifferentiation of sympathetic neurons to pigment cells. We show that inhibition of BMP signaling prevents specification of sympathetic neurons, indicating conservation of this molecular mechanism with chick and mouse. However, inhibition of sympathetic neuron differentiation does not enhance the parade phenotype. Instead, we pinpoint ventral trunk-restricted proliferation of neural crest cells as an early feature of the parade phenotype. Importantly, using a chemical genetic screen for rescue of the ectopic pigment cell phenotype of parade mutants (whilst leaving the embryonic pattern untouched), we identify ErbB inhibitors as a key hit. The time-window of sensitivity to these inhibitors mirrors precisely the window defined previously as crucial for the setting aside of APSCs in the embryo, strongly implicating adult pigment stem cells as the source of the ectopic pigment cells. We propose that a novel population of APSCs exists in association with medial blood vessels, and that their quiescence is dependent upon Endothelin-dependent factors expressed by the blood vessels.

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<![CDATA[A Notch-mediated, temporal asymmetry in BMP pathway activation promotes photoreceptor subtype diversification]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2d9d5eed0c48441ebbe

Neural progenitors produce neurons whose identities can vary as a function of the time that specification occurs. Here, we describe the heterochronic specification of two photoreceptor (PhR) subtypes in the zebrafish pineal gland. We find that accelerating PhR specification by impairing Notch signaling favors the early fate at the expense of the later fate. Using in vivo lineage tracing, we show that most pineal PhRs are born from a fate-restricted progenitor. Furthermore, sister cells derived from the division of PhR-restricted progenitors activate the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway at different times after division, and this heterochrony requires Notch activity. Finally, we demonstrate that PhR identity is established as a function of when the BMP pathway is activated. We propose a novel model in which division of a progenitor with restricted potential generates sister cells with distinct identities via a temporal asymmetry in the activation of a signaling pathway.

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<![CDATA[Population dynamics and entrainment of basal ganglia pacemakers are shaped by their dendritic arbors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcf2d5eed0c484dec628

The theory of phase oscillators is an essential tool for understanding population dynamics of pacemaking neurons. GABAergic pacemakers in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), a main basal ganglia (BG) output nucleus, receive inputs from the direct and indirect pathways at distal and proximal regions of their dendritic arbors, respectively. We combine theory, optogenetic stimulation and electrophysiological experiments in acute brain slices to ask how dendritic properties impact the propensity of the various inputs, arriving at different locations along the dendrite, to recruit or entrain SNr pacemakers. By combining cable theory with sinusoidally-modulated optogenetic activation of either proximal somatodendritic regions or the entire somatodendritic arbor of SNr neurons, we construct an analytical model that accurately fits the empirically measured somatic current response to inputs arising from illuminating the soma and various portions of the dendritic field. We show that the extent of the dendritic tree that is illuminated generates measurable and systematic differences in the pacemaker’s phase response curve (PRC), causing a shift in its peak. Finally, we show that the divergent PRCs correctly predict differences in two major features of the collective dynamics of SNr neurons: the fidelity of population responses to sudden step-like changes in inputs; and the phase latency at which SNr neurons are entrained by rhythmic stimulation, which can occur in the BG under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Our novel method generates measurable and physiologically meaningful spatial effects, and provides the first empirical demonstration of how the collective responses of SNr pacemakers are determined by the transmission properties of their dendrites. SNr dendrites may serve to delay distal striatal inputs so that they impinge on the spike initiation zone simultaneously with pallidal and subthalamic inputs in order to guarantee a fair competition between the influence of the monosynaptic direct- and polysynaptic indirect pathways.

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<![CDATA[Fat cells gobbling up norepinephrine?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcd9d5eed0c484dec37d

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) controls key aspects of adipose tissue (AT) function through the release of norepinephrine (NE) and beta adrenergic signaling. Sympathetic tone is determined by NE release but also by the rate of extracellular NE clearance that historically has been believed to occur solely through solute carrier family 6 member 2 (SLC6A2) expressed on sympathetic neurons. Song and colleagues show that adipocytes can also clear NE through organic cation transporter 3 (Oct3). This contributes to our understanding of how adrenergic signaling is controlled in AT and also emphasizes the need to develop better methods to assess adrenergic signaling in vivo.

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