Navigation Links
The social psychology of nerve cells
Date:6/26/2014

The functional organization of the central nervous system depends upon a precise architecture and connectivity of distinct types of neurons. Multiple cell types are present within any brain structure, but the rules governing their positioning, and the molecular mechanisms mediating those rules, have been relatively unexplored.

A new study by UC Santa Barbara researchers demonstrates that a particular neuron, the cholinergic amacrine cell, creates a "personal space" in much the same way that people distance themselves from one another in an elevator. In addition, the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that this feature is heritable and identifies a genetic contributor to it, pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1 (Pttg1).

Patrick Keeley, a postdoctoral scholar in Benjamin Reese's laboratory at UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute, has been using the retina as a model system for exploring such principles of developmental neurobiology. The retina is ideal because this portion of the central nervous system lends itself to such spatial analysis.

"Populations of neurons in the retina are laid out in single strata within this layered structure, lending themselves to accurate quantitation and statistical analysis," explained Keeley. "Rather than being distributed as regular lattices of nerve cells, populations in the retina appear to abide by a simple rule, that of minimizing proximity to other cells of the same type. We would like to understand how such populations create and maintain such spacing behavior."

To address this, Keeley and colleagues quantified the regularity in the population of a particular type of amacrine cell in the mouse retina. They did so in 26 genetically distinct strains of mice and found that every strain exhibited this same self-spacing behavior but that some strains did so more efficiently than others. Amacrine cells are retinal interneurons that form connections between other neurons and regulate bipolar cell output.

"The regularity in the patterning of these amacrine cells showed little variation within each strain, while showing conspicuous variation between the strains, indicating a heritable component to this trait," said Keeley.

"This itself was something of a surprise, given that the patterning in such populations has an apparently stochastic quality to it," said Reese, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Stochastic systems are random and are analyzed, at least in part, using probability theory.

This strain variation in the regularity of this cellular patterning showed a significant linkage to a location in the genome on chromosome 11, where the researchers identified Pttg1, previously unknown to play any role in the retina.

Working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Keeley's team demonstrated that the expression of this gene varies across the 26 strains of mice and that there was a positive correlation between gene expression and regularity. They then identified a mutation in this gene that itself correlated with expression levels and with regularity. Working with colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the team also demonstrated directly that this mutation controlled gene expression.

"Pttg1 has diverse functions, being an oncogene for pituitary tumors, and is known to have regulatory functions orchestrating gene expression elsewhere in the body," explained Keeley. "Within this class of retinal neurons, it should be regulating the way in which cells integrate signals from their immediate neighbors, translating that information to position the cell farthest from those neighbors." Future studies should decipher the genetic network controlled by Pttg1 that mediates such nerve-cell spacing.

Keeley, who completed his bachelor of science degree in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, went on to complete his Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, both at UCSB. Each program has provided complementary training for his research interests. He acquired an appreciation for behavioral and systems neuroscience during his undergraduate training, then turned his attention to the molecular and genetic underpinnings of the nervous system.


'/>"/>

Contact: Julie Cohen
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Aging with HIV and AIDS: A growing social issue
2. Video games, social networks, chat rooms, may help prevent HIV
3. Anonymous peer feedback through social networking helped residents improve their skills
4. Study shows health policy researchers lack confidence in social media for communication
5. Carnegie Mellon researchers discover social integration improves lung function in elderly
6. Negative social interactions increase hypertension risk in older adults
7. Medical students may benefit from social media guidance
8. Kessler Foundation expert authors article on social enterprise business models
9. Social workers can help patients recover from mild traumatic brain injuries
10. Danish social workers have become the moral agents of the state
11. PETA among finalists for global social progress award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The social psychology of nerve cells
(Date:6/26/2016)... PLAINSBORO, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... same sources, yet in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, ... Oncology (EBO), a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, ... editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to ... app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry ... fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at ... on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library ... City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ... for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to ... report contains up to date financial data derived from varied ... major trends with potential impact on the market during the ... segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... on Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , ... Senior Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... PRINCETON, N.J. , June 23, 2016  Guerbet ... of Premier Inc.,s Supplier Horizon Award . ... this year, Guerbet was recognized for its support of ... value creation through clinical excellence, and commitment to lower ... delighted to receive this recognition of our outstanding customer ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: