Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Male-specific gene SRY directly controls neuronal function in the brain


Shaped by much previous research, the prevailing view regarding sex-specific differences in the brain is that they are caused by circulating sex hormones, which are generated outside the brain and influence certain aspects of brain development, as well as brain function in adults. But new findings, reported by a team including Dr. Eric Vilain of UCLA, now reveal a new dimension to the influence of sex determination on brain function. The research shows that a single sex-specific gene plays a direct role in the brain by acting in neurons themselves, in addition to exerting an influence on the brain from afar through the action of hormones.

The researchers show that the mammalian gene SRY, which is the key sex-determination gene that directs gonads to develop as testes rather than ovaries, is also required in males for the normal function of a particular set of neurons in the adult mouse brain. These neurons secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine in the substantia nigra, a brain region that degenerates in Parkinson’s disease.

SRY is passed from father to son on the Y chromosome and is not present in females. It is particularly intriguing that a gene that acts specifically in one sex is essential for the proper function of a certain set of neurons in males.

The researchers speculate that males and females may have different ways of maintaining the function of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. SRY, a gene present only in males, may compensate for other mechanisms of protection that are possessed more by females than by men--such protection could be provided by estrogens or other female-associated factors. The authors of the study are presently testing this hypothesis.

A potential implication of the work is that it may help explain sex-specific differences that characterize Parkinson’s disease, which is more frequent in males than females (exhibiting a 3:2 ratio in incidence). Also, sex differences in other behaviors or disorders linked to dopamine, such as schizophrenia or addiction, may be at least partly explained by functions of the SRY gene.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | 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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>