PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Reversing a genetic cause of poor stress responses in mice

Reversing a genetic cause of poor stress responses in mice
2021-04-07
(Press-News.org) Everyone faces stress occasionally, whether in school, at work, or during a global pandemic. However, some cannot cope as well as others. In a few cases, the cause is genetic. In humans, mutations in the OPHN1 gene cause a rare X-linked disease that includes poor stress tolerance. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Professor Linda Van Aelst seeks to understand factors that cause specific individuals to respond poorly to stress. She and her lab studied the mouse gene Ophn1, an analog of the human gene, which plays a critical role in developing brain cell connections, memories, and stress tolerance. When Ophn1 was removed in a specific part of the brain, mice expressed depression-like helpless behaviors. The researchers found three ways to reverse this effect.

To test for stress, the researchers put mice into a two-room cage with a door in between. Normal mice escape from the room that gives them a light shock on their feet. But animals lacking Ophn1 sit helplessly in that room without trying to leave. Van Aelst wanted to figure out why.

Her lab developed a way to delete the Ophn1 gene in different brain regions. They found that removing Ophn1 from the prelimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), an area known to influence behavioral responses and emotion, induced the helpless phenotype. Then the team figured out which brain circuit was disrupted by deleting Ophn1, creating overactivity in the brain region and ultimately the helpless phenotype.

Understanding the circuit Pyramidal neurons are central to this brain circuit. If they fire too much, the mouse becomes helpless.

Another cell, an interneuron, regulates the pyramidal neuron activity, making sure it does not fire too much.

These two cells feedback to each other, creating a loop.

Ophn1 controls a particular protein, RhoA kinase, within this feedback loop which helps regulate and balances activity.

Van Aelst found three agents that reversed the helpless phenotype. Fasudil, an inhibitor specific for RhoA kinase, mimicked the effect of the missing Ophn1. A second drug dampens excess pyramidal neuron activity. A third drug wakes up the interneurons to inhibit pyramidal neurons. Van Aelst says:

"So bottom line, if you can restore the proper activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, then you could rescue the phenotype. So that was actually very exciting. You should be open to anything. You never know. Everything is surprising."

Van Aelst hopes that understanding the complex feedback loop behind Ophn1-related stress responses will lead to better treatments for stress in humans.

INFORMATION:


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Reversing a genetic cause of poor stress responses in mice

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Designing selective membranes for batteries using a drug discovery toolbox

Designing selective membranes for batteries using a drug discovery toolbox
2021-04-07
Membranes that allow certain molecules to quickly pass through while blocking others are key enablers for energy technologies from batteries and fuel cells to resource refinement and water purification. For example, membranes in a battery separating the two terminals help to prevent short circuits, while also allowing the transport of charged particles, or ions, needed to maintain the flow of electricity. The most selective membranes - those with very specific criteria for what may pass through - suffer from low permeability for the working ion in the battery, which limits the battery's power and energy efficiency. ...

Mosel vineyards are preparing for climate change by sharing their soil with aromatic

Mosel vineyards are preparing for climate change by sharing their soil with aromatic
2021-04-07
The landscape of sloping vineyards on the banks of the River Mosel in Germany is a characteristic symbol of a region, which cannot be understood without its wine: the Mosel wine region. Tourists from all over the world, especially from the neighbouring countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands visit the area in search of mountains and wine. However, the lack of new generations and the increase in temperatures and short heavy summer rainfall events caused by climate change endanger the production of wine. In this sense, the European H2020 ...

Study demonstrates the need to monitor the bit area of event horses

Study demonstrates the need to monitor the bit area of event horses
2021-04-07
It was found that event horses that wear thin or thick bits in events had a greater risk of moderate or severe oral lesions compared to horses wearing medium-sized bits, while straight bits were associated with lesions in the bars of the horse's mouth. "Our recommendation is to use a jointed bit of moderate thickness, that is 14 to 17 millimetres, if the size of the mouth is not known, paying particular attention to the handling of mares and both warmblood and coldblood event horses. They were seen to have a greater risk of mouth lesions compared to geldings and ponies," says doctoral student and veterinarian ...

The science of turning milk into cheese

The science of turning milk into cheese
2021-04-07
The global production of sheep's milk is one the rise, in the vast majority of cases used to produce cheese. However, a relatively large amount of milk is needed to produce it, so science is looking for ways to increase its yield; that is, to obtain more cheese using less milk. Immersed in this task, a team from the Department of Animal Production at the University of Cordoba, led by Professor Ana Garzón, has collaborated with the University of Leon in the search for genetic parameters affecting the cheese production of milk from Churra sheep, one of the oldest and most rustic breeds on the Iberian Peninsula. After analysing traits related to rennet and milk properties (pH, ...

Using AI to diagnose neurological diseases based on motor impairment

2021-04-07
The way we move says a lot about the state of our brain. While normal motor behaviour points to a healthy brain function, deviations can indicate impairments owing to neurological diseases. The observation and evaluation of movement patterns is therefore part of basic research, and is likewise one of the most important instruments for non-invasive diagnostics in clinical applications. Under the leadership of computer scientist Prof. Dr Björn Ommer and in collaboration with researchers from Switzerland, a new computer-based approach in this context has been developed at Heidelberg University. As studies inter alia with human test persons have shown, this approach enables the fully automatic ...

Digital twin can protect physical systems and train new users

2021-04-07
It is more complicated than copy and paste, but digital twins could be way of future manufacturing according to researchers from the University of Kentucky. They developed a virtual environment based on human-robot interactions that can mirror the physical set up of a welder and their project. Called a digital twin, the prototype has implications for evolving manufacturing systems and training novice welders. They published their work in the IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica (Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2021). "This human-robot interaction working style helps to enhance the human users' operational productivity and ...

The structure and function of cortical brain cells modulated by attention

The structure and function of cortical brain cells modulated by attention
2021-04-07
To effectively perform any daily task, the human brain needs to process information from the outside world using various cognitive functions. This cognitive processing passes through a dense interconnected network of cells whose physiology is specialized. The interconnected cell network needs to perform this processing of information efficiently and interact cooperatively to provide us, in real time, with useful instructions for living. Research published on 23 March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America challenges recent scientific advances seeking to find out how cognitive control and sensory information relate to the cortical machinery ...

First images of cells exposed to COVID-19 vaccine reveal native-like Coronavirus spikes

First images of cells exposed to COVID-19 vaccine reveal native-like Coronavirus spikes
2021-04-07
New research has for the first time compared images of the protein spikes that develop on the surface of cells exposed to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the protein spike of the SARS-CoV-19 coronavirus. The images show that the spikes are highly similar to those of the virus and support the modified adenovirus used in the vaccine as a leading platform to combat COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has a large number of spikes sticking out of its surface that it uses to attach to, and enter, cells in the human body. These spikes are coated in sugars, known as ...

'Patchwork' tumors prevalent across multiple cancer types

2021-04-07
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, as part of an international collaboration of scientists through the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium, have analysed the whole genomes of tumour samples from over 2,600 patients with different types of cancer. They identified a high prevalence of genetic diversity within individual tumours, which they further characterised. Their findings confirm that, even at late stages of development, tumour evolution is driven by changes that benefit the cancer. When cancer cells divide, errors occur in the process of copying their DNA. These copying errors mean that different tumours can be made up of cells presenting a wide range of genetic diversity. This variation is a challenge for doctors as a treatment that ...

The opportunities and risks of digitalization for sustainable development

2021-04-07
Digitalisation can support transitions towards a more sustainable society if technologies and processes are designed in line with suitable criteria. This requires a systemic focus on the risks and benefits of digital technologies across the three dimensions of sustainable development: the environment, society, and the economy. This is the conclusion of a study prepared by a team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. Applying this precautionary approach to digitalisation requires the active involvement of developers, users, and regulators. Digitalisation ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Heart patients advised to move more to avoid heart attacks and strokes

New amphibious centipede species discovered in Okinawa and Taiwan

Scientists may detect signs of extraterrestrial life in the next 5 to 10 years

The fate of the planet

Tarantula's ubiquity traced back to the cretaceous

On the pulse of pulsars and polar light

Neural plasticity depends on this long noncoding RNA's journey from nucleus to synapse

A new guide for communicating plant science

The future of particle accelerators is here

Simulations reveal how dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain binds to host, succumbs to antibodies

New understanding of the deleterious immune response in rheumatoid arthritis

The Trojan-Horse mechanism: How networks reduce gender segregation

Science Advances publishes proteomics technology from Oblique Therapeutics AB

Female protective effect: Yale researchers find clues to sex differences in autism

Researchers revise indicator of mobility limitation in older adults

Study shows past COVID-19 infection doesn't fully protect young people against reinfection

A new super-Earth detected orbiting a red dwarf star

Differences in national food security best explained by household income, not agriculture

Hidden magma pools pose eruption risks that we can't yet detect

COVID-19: Scientists identify human genes that fight infection

New CRISPR technology offers unrivaled control of epigenetic inheritance

How tangled proteins kill brain cells, promote Alzheimer's, CTE

Fitted filtration efficiency of double masking during COVID-19 pandemic

Fit matters most when double masking to protect yourself from COVID-19

Thermoelectric material discovery sets stage for new forms of electric power in the future

Researchers develop microscopic theory of polymer gel

Studies suggest people with blood cancers may not be optimally protected after COVID-19 vaccination

Are our oil and gas pipelines safe during an earthquake?

Virtual humans are equal to real ones in helping people practice new leadership skills

Promising results from first-in-humans study of a novel PET radiopharmaceutical

[Press-News.org] Reversing a genetic cause of poor stress responses in mice