The first convincing detection of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, or exoplanets, was made in 1995. In only 20 years, the number of the exoplanets including promising candidates has already accumulated to more than 5000. Most of the exoplanets discovered so far are detected by indirect methods because the direct imaging of exoplanets needs to overcome the extreme contrast between the bright central star and the faint planets. Using the large Subaru 8.2-m Telescope, a new high-contrast imager, HiCIAO, and second-generation adaptive optics (AO188), the most ambitious high-contrast direct imaging survey to date for giant planets and planet-forming disks has been conducted, the SEEDS project. In this review, we describe the aims and results of the SEEDS project for exoplanet/disk science. The completeness and uniformity of this systematic survey mean that the resulting data set will dominate this field of research for many years.
Neddylation is a reversible post-translational modification in which a small ubiquitin-like molecule called NEDD8 covalently binds to substrate proteins. Although a recent study suggests that neddylation is essential for formation and maintenance of dendritic spines in the brain, the role of this protein modification in the peripheral nerves is wholly unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that neddylation-related molecules, NEDD8 and DCUN1D2 (defective in cullin neddylation 1, domain containing 2), were concentrated at the paranode of peripheral myelin, in addition to the myelinated and unmyelinated Schwann cell bodies. These proteins were localized mainly within larger fibers, but not in fibers with small diameters. Developmental analyses showed that these molecules first appeared at the paranode during later stages of myelination, and this characteristic distribution disappeared in sulfatide-deficient mice in which paranodal axo-glial junctions were disrupted. These results suggest that the myelin paranode may be one of the regions where neddylation occurs within the peripheral nerves.
A sexually dimorphic spinal gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) system in the lumbosacral spinal cord, which projects to the lower spinal centers, controls erection and ejaculation in rats. However, little is known about the postnatal development of this system. In this study, we therefore examined the postnatal development of the male-dominant spinal GRP system and its sexual differentiation in rats using immunohistochemistry. Our results show that male-dominant expression of GRP is prominent from the onset of puberty and that sexually dimorphism persists into adulthood. These results suggest that androgen surge during male puberty plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the male-specific GRP function in the rat spinal cord.