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1416 Publications

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    02/07/99 | Properties of slow, cumulative sodium channel inactivation in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Mickus T, Jung HY, Spruston N
    Biophys J. 1999 Feb;76(2):846-60

    Sodium channels in the somata and dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons undergo a form of long-lasting, cumulative inactivation that is involved in regulating back-propagating action potential amplitude and can influence dendritic excitation. Using cell-attached patch-pipette recordings in the somata and apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons, we determined the properties of slow inactivation on response to trains of brief depolarizations. We find that the amount of slow inactivation gradually increases as a function of distance from the soma. Slow inactivation is also frequency and voltage dependent. Higher frequency depolarizations increase both the amount of slow inactivation and its rate of recovery. Hyperpolarized resting potentials and larger command potentials accelerate recovery from slow inactivation. We compare this form of slow inactivation to that reported in other cell types, using longer depolarizations, and construct a simplified biophysical model to examine the possible gating mechanisms underlying slow inactivation. Our results suggest that sodium channels can enter slow inactivation rapidly from the open state during brief depolarizations or slowly from a fast inactivation state during longer depolarizations. Because of these properties of slow inactivation, sodium channels will modulate neuronal excitability in a way that depends in a complicated manner on the resting potential and previous history of action potential firing.

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    02/01/99 | Modeling transcriptional regulation using microinjection into Xenopus oocytes.
    Robinett CC, Dunaway M
    Methods. 1999 Feb;17(2):151-60. doi: 10.1006/meth.1998.0726

    Transcriptional regulation is a complex process that requires cooperation between specific DNA sequence elements, the DNA-binding proteins that bind to these sequences, the general transcriptional machinery, and chromatin. Oocyte microinjection offers a technique to study the integrated transcription process while still providing the opportunity to experimentally perturb this process. We describe here techniques for manipulating DNA templates and the protein complement of the oocyte to study multiple facets of transcriptional regulation. We present sample results showing that the GAL4-VP16 fusion activator is sensitive to distance in constructs containing only a minimal promoter, but can activate transcription at greater distances when proximal promoter elements are present.

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    Pastalkova Lab
    01/23/99 | Hippocampal damage induced by carbon monoxide poisoning and spreading depression is alleviated by chronic treatment with brain derived polypeptides.
    Koroleva VI, Korolev OS, Mares V, Pastalkova E, Bures J
    Brain Research. 1999 Jan 23;816:618-27

    A model of acute carbon monoxide poisoning combined with spreading depression (SD) induced metabolic stress was used to examine the protective effects of cerebrolysin (CL) on the development of electrophysiological, behavioral and morphological signs of hypoxic damage. Capillary electrodes were implanted into the neocortex and hippocampus of anesthetized rats which were then exposed for 90 min to breathing of 0.8% to 0.5% CO, while 3 to 4 waves of cortical and hippocampal SD were elicited by microinjections of 5% KCl. Duration of SD-provoked depolarization of cerebral cortex and hippocampus was noted. Nine and 18 to 19 days later propagation of SD waves was recorded with the same electrodes and decrease of their amplitude was used as an index of brain damage which was significant in the hippocampus but not in the cortex. CL-treatment (2.5 ml/kg per day) started after CO administration and continued for 14 days significantly improved hippocampal recovery manifested by increased amplitude of SD waves. Behavioral tests performed 10 and 20 days after CO poisoning in the Morris water maze revealed better performance (escape latency 7 s) in the CL-treated than in untreated animals (14 s). Morphological analysis showed marked damage in the hippocampus consonant with electrophysiological and behavioral findings in the same animals. No apparent histological damage was found in rats exposed to CO inhalation alone without the additional SD-provoked depolarization. It is concluded that chronic CL-treatment enhances recovery of hippocampal tissue after hypoxic damage of intermediate severity.

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    01/01/99 | Visualization of large-scale chromatin structure and dynamics using the lac operator/lac repressor reporter system.
    Belmont AS, Li G, Sudlow G, Robinett C
    Methods in Cell Biology. 1999;58:203-22
    12/13/98 | Initiation of mitochondrial DNA replication by transcription and R-loop processing.
    Lee DY, Clayton DA
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1998 Nov 13;273(46):30614-21. doi: 10.1101/gad.1352105

    The mitochondrial genome of eukaryotic cells is maintained by a mechanism distinct from that employed in the nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA replication at the leading-strand origin is coupled to transcription through the formation of an RNA-DNA hybrid known as an R-loop. In vivo and in vitro evidence has implicated an RNA processing enzyme, RNase MRP, in primer maturation. In our investigation of mammalian RNase MRP, we have analyzed its specific endoribonuclease activity on model R-loops. We demonstrate here that human RNase MRP cleaves this distinctly configured substrate at virtually all of the major DNA replication sites previously mapped in vivo. We further show that the processed RNA products remain stably base-paired to the template DNA strand and are functional for initiating DNA synthesis on a closed circular plasmid. Thus, in vitro initiation of leading-strand mtDNA synthesis requires only the actions of RNA polymerase and RNase MRP for the generation of replication primers.

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    12/03/98 | A role of Ultrabithorax in morphological differences between Drosophila species.
    Stern DL
    Nature. 1998 Dec 3;396(6710):463-6. doi: 10.1038/24863

    The mechanisms underlying the evolution of morphology are poorly understood. Distantly related taxa sometimes exhibit correlations between morphological differences and patterns of gene expression, but such comparisons cannot establish how mechanisms evolve to generate diverse morphologies. Answers to these questions require resolution of the nature of developmental evolution within and between closely related species. Here I show how the detailed regulation of the Hox gene Ultrabithorax patterns trichomes on the posterior femur of the second leg in Drosophila melanogaster, and that evolution of Ultrabithorax has contributed to divergence of this feature among closely related species. The cis-regulatory regions of Ultrabithorax, and not the protein itself, appear to have evolved. This study provides experimental evidence that cis-regulatory evolution is one way in which conserved proteins have promoted morphological diversity.

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    Several early studies suggested that spikes can be generated in the dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons, but their functional significance and the conditions under which they occur remain poorly understood. Here, we provide direct evidence from simultaneous dendritic and somatic patch-pipette recordings that excitatory synaptic inputs can elicit dendritic sodium spikes prior to axonal action potential initiation in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Both the probability and amplitude of dendritic spikes depended on the previous synaptic and firing history of the cell. Moreover, some dendritic spikes occurred in the absence of somatic action potentials, indicating that their propagation to the soma and axon is unreliable. We show that dendritic spikes contribute a variable depolarization that summates with the synaptic potential and can act as a trigger for action potential initiation in the axon.

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    Sternson Lab
    10/08/98 | An acid- and base-stable o-nitrobenzyl photolabile linker for solid phase organic synthesis.
    Sternson SM, Schreiber SL
    Tetrahedron Letters. 1998 Oct 8;39:7451-54

    The synthesis of an o-nitrobenzyl photolabile linker (1) from o-nitrobenzaldehyde is described, and the efficiency of its light-mediated (365 nm) cleavage is found to be comparable to related, previously developed systems. In contrast, 1 is shown to be stable to acid, base, and Lewis acid/amine combinations while the previously developed linker 2 is shown to degrade under the latter two conditions.

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    09/01/98 | The Drosophila genome project: a progress report.
    Rubin GM
    Trends in Genetics. 1998 Sep;14(9):340-3
    06/12/98 | Ethanol intoxication in Drosophila: genetic and pharmacological evidence for regulation by the cAMP signaling pathway.
    Moore MS, DeZazzo J, Luk AY, Tully T, Singh CM, Heberlein U
    Cell. 1998 Jun 12;93(6):997-1007

    Upon exposure to ethanol, Drosophila display behaviors that are similar to ethanol intoxication in rodents and humans. Using an inebriometer to measure ethanol-induced loss of postural control, we identified cheapdate, a mutant with enhanced sensitivity to ethanol. Genetic and molecular analyses revealed that cheapdate is an allele of the memory mutant amnesiac. amnesiac has been postulated to encode a neuropeptide that activates the cAMP pathway. Consistent with this, we find that enhanced ethanol sensitivity of cheapdate can be reversed by treatment with agents that increase cAMP levels or PKA activity. Conversely, genetic or pharmacological reduction in PKA activity results in increased sensitivity to ethanol. Taken together, our results provide functional evidence for the involvement of the cAMP signal transduction pathway in the behavioral response to intoxicating levels of ethanol.

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