Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulation of a specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates

18.06.2012
Newly clarified function of 'indirect pathways' from brain to spinal motor neurons, controlling dexterous hand movements by newly developed 'the double viral vector transfection technique'

The collaborative research team led by Professor Tadashi ISA, Project Assistant Professor Masaharu KINOSHITA from The National Institute for Physiological Sciences, The National Institutes of Natural Sciences and Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University, developed "the double viral vector transfection technique" which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

With this method, they found that "indirect pathways", which were suspected to have been left behind when the direct connection from the brain to motor neurons (which control muscles) was established in the course of evolution, actually plays an important role in the highly developed dexterous hand movements. This study was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the MEXT of Japan. This research result will be published in Nature (London) (June 17th, advance online publication).

It is said that the higher primates including human beings accomplished explosive evolution by having acquired the ability to move hands skillfully. It has been thought that this ability to move individual fingers is a result of the evolution of the direct connection from the cerebrocortical motor area to motor neurons of the spinal cord which control the muscles. On the other hand, in lower animals with clumsy hands, such as cats or rats, the cortical motor area is connected to the motor neurons, only through interneurons of the spinal cord. Such "indirect pathway"remains in us, primates, without us fully understanding its functions. Is this "phylogenetically old circuit" still in operation? Or maybe suppressed since it is obstructive? The conclusion was not attached to this argument.

The collaborative research team led by Professor Tadashi ISA, Project Assistant Professor Masaharu KINOSHITA from The National Institute for Physiological Sciences, The National Institutes of Natural Sciences and Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University developed "the double viral vector transfection technique"which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

With this method, they succeeded in the selective and reversible suppression of the propriospinal neurons (spinal interneurons mediating the indirect connection from cortical motor area to spinal motor neurons)

The results revealed that "indirect pathways" play an important role in dexterous hand movements and finally a longtime debate has come to a close.

The key component of this discovery was"the double viral vector transfection technique"in which one vector is retrogradely transported from the terminal zone back to the neuronal cell bodies and the other is transfected at the location of their cell bodies. The expression of the target gene is regulated only in the cells with double transfection by the two vectors. Using this technique, they succeeded in the suppression of the propriospinal neuron selectively and reversibly.

Such an operation was possible in mice in which the inheritable genetic manipulation of germline cells were possible, but impossible in primates until now.

Using this method, further development of gene therapy targeted to a specific neural circuit can be expected.

Professor Tadashi ISA says "this newly developed double viral vector transfection technique can be applied to the gene therapy of the human central nervous system, as we are the same higher primates.

And this is the discovery which reverses the general idea that the spinal cord is only a reflex pathway, but also plays a pivotal role in integrating the complex neural signals which enable dexterous movements."

This study was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the MEXT of Japan, collaborated with Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University.

Tadashi Isa | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nips.ac.jp

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>