Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling hand movements : Manipulation of specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates

Date:
June 17, 2012
Source:
National Institute for Physiological Sciences
Summary:
Scientists have developed "the double viral vector transfection technique," which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors. With this method, they found that "indirect pathways," which were suspected to have been left behind in the course of evolution, actually plays an important role in the highly developed dexterous hand movements.

Scientists have developed "the double viral vector transfection technique" which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

Related Articles


With this method, they found that "indirect pathways," which were suspected to have been left behind when the direct connection from the brain to motor neurons (which control muscles) were established in the course of evolution and actually play an important role in the highly developed dexterous hand movements.

It is said that the higher primates including human beings accomplished explosive evolution by having acquired the ability to move hands skillfully. It has been thought that this ability to move individual fingers is a result of the evolution of the direct connection from the cerebrocortical motor area to motor neurons of the spinal cord which control the muscles. On the other hand, in lower animals with clumsy hands, such as cats or rats, the cortical motor area is connected to the motor neurons, only through interneurons of the spinal cord. Such an "indirect pathway"remains in us, primates, without us fully understanding its functions. Is this "phylogenetically old circuit" still in operation? Or maybe suppressed since it is obstructive?

The collaborative research team led by Professor Tadashi Isa, Project Assistant Professor Masaharu Kinoshita from The National Institute for Physiological Sciences, The National Institutes of Natural Sciences and Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University developed "the double viral vector transfection technique"which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

With this method, they succeeded in the selective and reversible suppression of the propriospinal neurons (spinal interneurons mediating the indirect connection from cortical motor area to spinal motor neurons).

The results revealed that "indirect pathways" play an important role in dexterous hand movements and finally a longtime debate has come to a close.

The key component of this discovery was "the double viral vector transfection technique" in which one vector is retrogradely transported from the terminal zone back to the neuronal cell bodies and the other is transfected at the location of their cell bodies. The expression of the target gene is regulated only in the cells with double transfection by the two vectors. Using this technique, they succeeded in the suppression of the propriospinal neuron selectively and reversibly.

Such an operation was possible in mice in which the inheritable genetic manipulation of germline cells were possible, but impossible in primates until now.

Using this method, further development of gene therapy targeted to a specific neural circuit can be expected.

Professor Tadashi Isa says "this newly developed double viral vector transfection technique can be applied to the gene therapy of the human central nervous system, as we are the same higher primates.

And this is the discovery which reverses the general idea that the spinal cord is only a reflex pathway, but also plays a pivotal role in integrating the complex neural signals which enable dexterous movements."

This study was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the MEXT of Japan. This research result will be published in Nature.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Physiological Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Masaharu Kinoshita, Ryosuke Matsui, Shigeki Kato, Taku Hasegawa, Hironori Kasahara, Kaoru Isa, Akiya Watakabe, Tetsuo Yamamori, Yukio Nishimura, Bror Alstermark, Dai Watanabe, Kazuto Kobayashi, Tadashi Isa. Genetic dissection of the circuit for hand dexterity in primates. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11206

Cite This Page:

National Institute for Physiological Sciences. "Controlling hand movements : Manipulation of specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120617142538.htm>.
National Institute for Physiological Sciences. (2012, June 17). Controlling hand movements : Manipulation of specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120617142538.htm
National Institute for Physiological Sciences. "Controlling hand movements : Manipulation of specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120617142538.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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