A leading neuroscientist at MIT and one from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) report in the Nov. 4 special issue of Science dedicated to the brain that the controversy is over: The "protomap" and "protocortex" theories of brain development are dead.
The cerebral cortex is a sheet of around 10 billion neurons divided into distinctly separate areas that process particular aspects of sensation, movement and cognition. To what extent are these areas predetermined by genes or shaped by the environment? The protomap and protocortex theories developed before 1990 claimed, respectively, that the task-specific regions of the cortex are spawned by a zone of "originator" cells; or that long nerve fibers from the thalamus, a large ovoid mass that relays information to the cortex from other brain regions, are activated by external stimuli to impose identity on the homogeneous blob.
New evidence indicates that the development of cortical areas involves "a rich array of signals," an interwoven cascade of developmental events, some internal and some external, according to co-authors Mriganka Sur, Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and John L. R. Rubenstein of UCSF.
Patti Richards | EurekAlert!
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
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