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57 Publications

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    12/16/04 | Individual differences in trait anxiety predict the response of the basolateral amygdala to unconsciously processed fearful faces.
    Etkin A, Klemenhagen KC, Dudman JT, Rogan MT, Hen R, Kandel ER, Hirsch J
    Neuron. 2004 Dec 16;44(6):1043-55. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2010.00147

    Responses to threat-related stimuli are influenced by conscious and unconscious processes, but the neural systems underlying these processes and their relationship to anxiety have not been clearly delineated. Using fMRI, we investigated the neural responses associated with the conscious and unconscious (backwardly masked) perception of fearful faces in healthy volunteers who varied in threat sensitivity (Spielberger trait anxiety scale). Unconscious processing modulated activity only in the basolateral subregion of the amygdala, while conscious processing modulated activity only in the dorsal amygdala (containing the central nucleus). Whereas activation of the dorsal amygdala by conscious stimuli was consistent across subjects and independent of trait anxiety, activity in the basolateral amygdala to unconscious stimuli, and subjects’ reaction times, were predicted by individual differences in trait anxiety. These findings provide a biological basis for the unconscious emotional vigilance characteristic of anxiety and a means for investigating the mechanisms and efficacy of treatments for anxiety.

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    Tjian Lab
    12/15/04 | Polybromo protein BAF180 functions in mammalian cardiac chamber maturation.
    Wang Z, Zhai W, Richardson JA, Olson EN, Meneses JJ, Firpo MT, Kang C, Skarnes WC, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2004 Dec 15;18(24):3106-16. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    BAF and PBAF are two related mammalian chromatin remodeling complexes essential for gene expression and development. PBAF, but not BAF, is able to potentiate transcriptional activation in vitro mediated by nuclear receptors, such as RXRalpha, VDR, and PPARgamma. Here we show that the ablation of PBAF-specific subunit BAF180 in mouse embryos results in severe hypoplastic ventricle development and trophoblast placental defects, similar to those found in mice lacking RXRalpha and PPARgamma. Embryonic aggregation analyses reveal that in contrast to PPARgamma-deficient mice, the heart defects are likely a direct result of BAF180 ablation, rather than an indirect consequence of trophoblast placental defects. We identified potential target genes for BAF180 in heart development, such as S100A13 as well as retinoic acid (RA)-induced targets RARbeta2 and CRABPII. Importantly, BAF180 is recruited to the promoter of these target genes and BAF180 deficiency affects the RA response for CRABPII and RARbeta2. These studies reveal unique functions of PBAF in cardiac chamber maturation.

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    12/10/04 | Efficient synthesis of alkynylsilyl ethers and silaketals via base-induced alkynylsilane alcoholysis.
    Grimm JB, Lee D
    The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2004 Dec 10;69(25):8967-70. doi: 10.1021/jo048908l

    The efficient silylation of alcohols with di- and trialkynylsilanes was achieved under base-catalyzed conditions to afford alkynyl silyl ethers and symmetrical alkynyl silaketals in good yield. A selective alcoholysis of dialkynyl silyl ethers to mixed silaketals was also demonstrated. These products served as substrates for enyne ring-closing metathesis and, consequently, as precursors to stereochemically defined 1,3-dienes.

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    Magee Lab
    12/08/04 | On the initiation and propagation of dendritic spikes in CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Gasparini S, Migliore M, Magee JC
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2004 Dec 8;24(49):11046-56. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000254

    Under certain conditions, regenerative voltage spikes can be initiated locally in the dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. These are interesting events that could potentially provide neurons with additional computational abilities. Using whole-cell dendritic recordings from the distal apical trunk and proximal tuft regions and realistic computer modeling, we have determined that highly synchronized and moderately clustered inputs are required for dendritic spike initiation: approximately 50 synaptic inputs spread over 100 mum of the apical trunk/tuft need to be activated within 3 msec. Dendritic spikes are characterized by a more depolarized voltage threshold than at the soma [-48 +/- 1 mV (n = 30) vs -56 +/- 1 mV (n = 7), respectively] and are mainly generated and shaped by dendritic Na+ and K+ currents. The relative contribution of AMPA and NMDA currents is also important in determining the actual spatiotemporal requirements for dendritic spike initiation. Once initiated, dendritic spikes can easily reach the soma, but their propagation is only moderately strong, so that it can be modulated by physiologically relevant factors such as changes in the V(m) and the ionic composition of the extracellular solution. With effective spike propagation, an extremely short-latency neuronal output is produced for greatly reduced input levels. Therefore, dendritic spikes function as efficient detectors of specific input patterns, ensuring that the neuronal response to high levels of input synchrony is a precisely timed action potential output.

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    12/02/04 | Search for computational modules in the C. elegans brain.
    Reigl M, Alon U, Chklovskii DB
    BMC Biology. 2004 Dec 2;2:25. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2005.05.006

    Does the C. elegans nervous system contain multi-neuron computational modules that perform stereotypical functions? We attempt to answer this question by searching for recurring multi-neuron inter-connectivity patterns in the C. elegans nervous system’s wiring diagram.

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    12/01/04 | Lmo mutants reveal a novel role for circadian pacemaker neurons in cocaine-induced behaviors.
    Tsai LT, Bainton RJ, Blau J, Heberlein U
    PLoS Biology. 2004 Dec;2(12):e408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020408

    Drosophila has been developed recently as a model system to investigate the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying responses to drugs of abuse. Genetic screens for mutants with altered drug-induced behaviors thus provide an unbiased approach to define novel molecules involved in the process. We identified mutations in the Drosophila LIM-only (LMO) gene, encoding a regulator of LIM-homeodomain proteins, in a genetic screen for mutants with altered cocaine sensitivity. Reduced Lmo function increases behavioral responses to cocaine, while Lmo overexpression causes the opposite effect, reduced cocaine responsiveness. Expression of Lmo in the principal Drosophila circadian pacemaker cells, the PDF-expressing ventral lateral neurons (LN(v)s), is sufficient to confer normal cocaine sensitivity. Consistent with a role for Lmo in LN(v)function,Lmomutants also show defects in circadian rhythms of behavior. However, the role for LN(v)s in modulating cocaine responses is separable from their role as pacemaker neurons: ablation or functional silencing of the LN(v)s reduces cocaine sensitivity, while loss of the principal circadian neurotransmitter PDF has no effect. Together, these results reveal a novel role for Lmo in modulating acute cocaine sensitivity and circadian locomotor rhythmicity, and add to growing evidence that these behaviors are regulated by shared molecular mechanisms. The finding that the degree of cocaine responsiveness is controlled by the Drosophila pacemaker neurons provides a neuroanatomical basis for this overlap. We propose that Lmo controls the responsiveness of LN(v)s to cocaine, which in turn regulate the flies’ behavioral sensitivity to the drug.

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    11/30/04 | Experimental test of the birdsong error-correction model.
    Leonardo A
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2004 Nov 30;101(48):16935-40. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0407870101

    Adult zebra finches require auditory feedback to maintain their songs. It has been proposed that the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN) mediates song plasticity based on auditory feedback. In this model, neurons in LMAN, tuned to the spectral and temporal properties of the bird’s own song (BOS), are thought to compute the difference between the auditory feedback from the bird’s vocalizations and an internal song template. This error-correction signal is then used to initiate changes in the motor system that make future vocalizations a better match to the song template. This model was tested by recording from single LMAN neurons while manipulating the auditory feedback heard by singing birds. In contrast to the model predictions, LMAN spike patterns are insensitive to manipulations of auditory feedback. These results suggest that BOS tuning in LMAN is not used for error detection and constrain the nature of any error signal from LMAN to the motor system. Finally, LMAN neurons produce spikes locked precisely to the bird’s song, independent of the auditory feedback heard by the bird. This finding suggests that a large portion of the input to this nucleus is from the motor control signals that generate the song rather than from auditory feedback.

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    11/24/04 | L-type Ca2+ channel blockers promote Ca2+ accumulation when dopamine receptors are activated in striatal neurons.
    Eaton ME, Macías W, Youngs RM, Rajadhyaksha A, Dudman JT, Konradi C
    Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research. 2004 Nov 24;131(1-2):65-72. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2010.00147

    Dopamine (DA) receptor-mediated signal transduction and gene expression play a central role in many brain disorders from schizophrenia to Parkinson’s disease to addiction. While trying to evaluate the role of L-type Ca2+ channels in dopamine D1 receptor-mediated phosphorylation of the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB), we found that activation of dopamine D1 receptors alters the properties of L-type Ca2+ channel inhibitors and turns them into facilitators of Ca2+ influx. In D1 receptor-stimulated neurons, L-type Ca2+ channel blockers promote cytosolic Ca2+ accumulation. This leads to the activation of a molecular signal transduction pathway and CREB phosphorylation. In the absence of dopamine receptor stimulation, L-type Ca2+ channel blockers inhibit CREB phosphorylation. The effect of dopamine on L-type Ca2+ channel blockers is dependent on protein kinase A (PKA), suggesting that protein phosphorylation plays a role in this phenomenon. Because of the adverse effect of activated dopamine receptors on L-type Ca2+ channel blocker action, the role of L-type Ca2+ channels in the dopamine D1 receptor signal transduction pathway cannot be assessed with pharmacological tools. However, with antisense technology, we demonstrate that L-type Ca2+ channels contribute to D1 receptor-mediated CREB phosphorylation. We conclude that the D1 receptor signal transduction pathway depends on L-type Ca2+ channels to mediate CREB phosphorylation.

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    11/24/04 | Optically active sum frequency generation from molecules with a chiral center: amino acids as model systems.
    Ji N, Shen Y
    Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2004 Nov 24;126(46):15008-9. doi: 10.1021/ja045708i

    With amino acids as model systems, optically active sum frequency generation (OA-SFG) was used to probe the chirality of molecules with a chiral center and an intrinsically achiral chromophore in isotropic solution for the first time. Like that of circular dichroism (CD), the OA-SFG’s near electronic resonance originates from the extrachromophoric chiral perturbation on the carboxyl chromophore. The difference in the relative strengths of OA-SFG and CD among different amino acids can be explained by the difference in the details of perturbations.

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    Egnor Lab
    11/01/04 | A paradox in the evolution of primate vocal learning.
    Egnor SE, Hauser MD
    Trends in Neurosciences. 2004 Nov;27(11):649-54. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.08.009

    The importance of auditory feedback in the development of spoken language in humans is striking. Paradoxically, although auditory-feedback-dependent vocal plasticity has been shown in a variety of taxonomic groups, there is little evidence that our nearest relatives–non-human primates–require auditory feedback for the development of species-typical vocal signals. Because of the apparent lack of developmental plasticity in the vocal production system, neuroscientists have largely ignored the neural mechanisms of non-human primate vocal production and perception. Recently, the absence of evidence for vocal plasticity from developmental studies has been contrasted with evidence for vocal plasticity in adults. We argue that this new evidence makes non-human primate vocal behavior an attractive model system for neurobiological analysis.

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