News tips from The Journal of Neuroscience

1. Microarray in 5 Regions and 8 Strains
Noah E. Letwin, Neri Kafkafi, Yoav Benjamini, Cheryl Mayo, Bryan C. Frank, Troung Luu, Norman H. Lee, and Greg I. Elmer

This week, Letwin et al. began a search for genes that underlie complex behaviors, eschewing the conventional hunt for individual genes in favor of a behavioral genetics approach. They fabricated microarrays containing >26,000 mouse cDNAs. Gene expression patterns were measured across five brain regions--the prefrontal cortex, ventral striatum, temporal lobe, periaqueductal gray, and cerebellum--and across eight inbred strains of mice that are considered genetically and behaviorally diverse. By the authors' criteria, each region had hundreds (range, 2451251) of regionally enriched genes that were conserved across strains. Roughly similar numbers of genes differed in each region between strains. In parallel, they compared behavioral phenotypes for anxiety, locomotor activity, ethanol-induced locomotor activity, and seizure susceptibility, and tried to link the regional expression differences with behavioral phenotypes. Some of the genes that correlated with behaviors were linked to already established quantitative trait loci, thus validating the potential utility of this daunting task.

2. Small Molecule p75NTR Ligands
Stephen M. Massa, Youmei Xie, Tao Yang, Anthony W. Harrington, Mi Lyang Kim, Sung Ok Yoon, Rosemary Kraemer, Laura A. Moore, Barbara L. Hempstead, and Frank M. Longo

The neurotrophin receptor p75NTR is a bit of a chameleon, leading to apoptosis or cell survival, depending on the activating ligand and on the expression of tropomyosin-related kinase (Trk) neurotrophin receptors. Binding of nerve growth factor (NGF) to p75NTR promotes neuron survival, whereas proNGF induces cell death, as does the unbound monomeric p75NTR. In this issue, Massa et al. report on several small nonpeptide ligands that bind p7

Contact: Sara Harris
Society for Neuroscience

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