Plants produce a variety of secondary metabolites that possess strong physiological activities. Unfortunately, however, their production can suffer from a variety of serious problems, including low levels of productivity and heterogeneous quality, as well as difficulty in raw material supply. In contrast, microorganisms can be used to produce their primary and some of their secondary metabolites in a controlled environment, thus assuring high levels of efficiency and uniform quality. In an attempt to overcome the problems associated with secondary metabolite production in plants, we developed a microbial platform for the production of plant isoquinoline alkaloids involving the unification of the microbial and plant metabolic pathways into a single system. The potential applications of this system have also been discussed.
Cerebellar long-term depression (LTD) is a type of synaptic plasticity and has been considered as a critical cellular mechanism for motor learning. LTD occurs at excitatory synapses between parallel fibers and a Purkinje cell in the cerebellar cortex, and is expressed as reduced responsiveness to transmitter glutamate. Molecular induction mechanism of LTD has been intensively studied using culture and slice preparations, which has revealed critical roles of Ca2+, protein kinase C and endocytosis of AMPA-type glutamate receptors. Involvement of a large number of additional molecules has also been demonstrated, and their interactions relevant to LTD mechanisms have been studied. In vivo experiments including those on mutant mice, have reported good correlation of LTD and motor learning. However, motor learning could occur with impaired LTD. A possibility that cerebellar synaptic plasticity other than LTD compensates for the defective LTD has been proposed.
The first objective data showing the geographical locations of people in Fukushima after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident, obtained by an analysis of GPS (Global Positioning System)-enabled mobile phone logs, are presented. The method of estimation is explained, and the flow of people into and out of the 20 km evacuation zone during the accident is visualized.