Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Targeting Genes With Viruses To Select Populations Of Nerve Cells

Date:
June 1, 2004
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Yale scientists have discovered a new way of illuminating MCH neurons, which may play an important role in regulating appetite and body weight, by using a virus that has been genetically engineered so that it cannot replicate.

New Haven, Conn. -- Yale scientists have discovered a new way of illuminating MCH neurons, which may play an important role in regulating appetite and body weight, by using a virus that has been genetically engineered so that it cannot replicate.

Related Articles


MCH neurons are located in the hypothalamus, a homeostatic regulatory center of the brain. Because these nerve cells look like any other brain cell, it has been difficult to study their cellular behavior previously.

The researchers took the "safe" virus, known as an adeno-associated virus, and injected it into the brain as a gene shuttle vector, which then triggers the expression of a jellyfish gene that glows green in the MCH neurons.

The principal investigator, Anthony van den Pol, professor of neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine, said tracking the virus in the brain makes it possible to observe what viruses do best - go into target cells and initiate gene expression.

"By creating viruses unable to follow their normal replication agenda, we can then harness the virus as an important research tool," van den Pol said. "Viruses with altered genetic codes also have substantial value for the potential treatment of a number of neurological diseases where a gene could be selectively targeted to one defective cell type."

He said the gene could be one that codes for a protein that enhances neuron survival, that opens or closes an ion channel, conscripts the nerve cell to synthesize a new neurotransmitter, or generates a toxin selectively in a brain tumor.

Van den Pol and his colleagues first exchanged a viral gene promoter for a neurotransmitter-selective promoter in the virus so that although the virus may infect many cells, it only turns cells green if the cells make MCH. The scientists then used thin glass pipettes to record the electrophysiological characteristics of these rare nerve cells, finding them by their green glow.

Van den Pol said scientists have struggled to identify what particular cell type is being examined within the brain because the brain consists of hundreds of cell types within millions of cells. Transgenic mice can be generated that express a reporter gene in restricted subsets of neurons, allowing recognition of live cells, but the virus approach may be simpler, faster and less costly, he said.

"When these adeno-associated viruses are injected into the brain, they initiate expression of a novel gene that continues for over a year without doing any detectable damage to the brain," he said.

Co-authors included Prabhat Ghosh and Claudio Acuna of Yale and Reed Clark from Ohio State University.

Citation: Neuron, Vol. 42: 635-652 (May 27, 2004)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Targeting Genes With Viruses To Select Populations Of Nerve Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040528000748.htm>.
Yale University. (2004, June 1). Targeting Genes With Viruses To Select Populations Of Nerve Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040528000748.htm
Yale University. "Targeting Genes With Viruses To Select Populations Of Nerve Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040528000748.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins