Related topics: brain · children · nerve cells · genes · brain regions

Brain receptor pulls open electrical gate like a puppet master

For the first time, researchers in the lab of CSHL Professor Hiro Furukawa have been able to track each atom in the NMDA receptor, an important brain protein, as it transmits or inhibits neural signals. Critical for brain ...

Will lockdown loneliness make us loners?

Over the past few months at least half of the world's population has been affected by some form of lockdown due to COVID-19, and many of us are experiencing the impact of social isolation. Loneliness affects both mental and ...

Similar to humans, chimpanzees develop slowly

Few species develop as slowly as humans, both in terms of developing adult skills and brain development. Human infants are born so underdeveloped that they cannot survive without adult care and feeding for some years after ...

Lipid metabolism controls brain development

Neural stem cells are not only responsible for early brain development—they remain active for an entire lifetime. They divide and continually generate new nerve cells and enable the brain to constantly adapt to new demands. ...

Worms discovered in the brain of lizard embryos for the first time

Researchers have discovered nematodes, or worms, in the brains of lizard embryos. This is the first time they have been found in reptile eggs, and it was previously believed that egg laying prevents parasites from being transmitted ...

Shaping the social networks of neurons

The three proteins teneurin, latrophilin and FLRT hold together and bring neighboring neurons into close contact, enabling the formation of synapses and the exchange of information between the cells. In the early phase of ...

New function for potential tumor suppressor in brain development

The gene Cdkn1c could have been considered an open-and-shut case: Mice in which the gene is removed are larger and have bigger brains, so Cdkn1c should function to inhibit growth. This rationale has led to Cdkn1c being studied ...

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Neural development

The study of neural development draws on both neuroscience and developmental biology to describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which complex nervous systems emerge during embryonic development and throughout life.

Some landmarks of embryonic neural development include the birth and differentiation of neurons from stem cell precursors, the migration of immature neurons from their birthplaces in the embryo to their final positions, outgrowth of axons from neurons and guidance of the motile growth cone through the embryo towards postsynaptic partners, the generation of synapses between these axons and their postsynaptic partners, and finally the lifelong changes in synapses which are thought to underlie learning and memory.

Typically, these neurodevelopmental processes can be broadly divided into two classes: activity-independent mechanisms and activity-dependent mechanisms. Activity-independent mechanisms are generally believed to occur as hardwired processes determined by genetic programs played out within individual neurons. These include differentiation, migration and axon guidance to their initial target areas. These processes are thought of as being independent of neural activity and sensory experience. Once axons reach their target areas, activity-dependent mechanisms come into play. Neural activity and sensory experience will mediate formation of new synapses, as well as synaptic plasticity, which will be responsible for refinement of the nascent neural circuits.

Developmental neuroscience uses a variety of animal models including mice Mus musculus , the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster , the zebrafish Danio rerio, Xenopus laevis tadpoles and the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, among others.

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