The fundamental organization of the cerebral cortical circuit is still poorly understood. In particular, it is unclear whether the diverse cell types form modular units that are repeated across the cortex. We discovered that the major cell types in cortical layer 5 form a lattice structure. Distinct types of excitatory and inhibitory neurons form cell type-specific radial clusters termed microcolumns. Microcolumns are present in diverse cortical areas, such as the visual, motor, and language areas, and are organized into periodic hexagonal lattice structures. Individual microcolumns have modular synaptic circuits and exhibit modular neuronal activity, suggesting that each of them functions as an information processing unit. Microcolumn development is suggested to be independent of cell lineage but coordinated by gap junctions. Thus, neurons in cortical layer 5 organize into a brainwide lattice structure of functional microcolumns, suggesting that parallel processing by massively repeated microcolumns underlie diverse cortical functions, such as sensory perception, motor control, and language processing.
Intracellular organelles were long viewed as isolated compartments floating in the cytosol. However, this view has been radically changed within the last decade by the discovery that most organelles communicate with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network via membrane contact sites (MCSs) that are essential for intracellular homeostasis. Protrudin is an ER resident protein that was originally shown to regulate neurite formation by promoting endosome trafficking. More recently, however, protrudin has been found to serve as a tethering factor at MCSs. The roles performed by protrudin at MCSs are mediated by its various domains, including inactivation of the small GTPase Rab11, bending of the ER membrane, and functional interactions with other molecules such as the motor protein KIF5 and the ER protein VAP. Mutations in the protrudin gene (ZFYVE27) are associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia, an axonopathy that results from defective ER structure. This review, examines the pleiotropic molecular functions of protrudin and its role in interorganellar communication.
New superconductors discovered in the Akimitsu laboratory are reviewed here. These materials can be categorized into two groups:
1) Cu-oxide superconductors.
1-1 Cu-oxide system having CuO2 planes.
1-2 Ladder lattice superconductor.
2) Exploration of new metal-based superconductors.
2-1 MgB2 and its application.
2-3 Carrier-doped wide-gap semiconductors.
2-4 New superconductor with a cage-type structure: R5T6Sn18 (R = Sc, Y, Lu; T = Rh, Ir).
Finally, all of the new superconductors discovered in our laboratory are summarized. The outlook for the high-Tc superconductors and our present work are also described.
Animals make use of changes in photoperiod to adapt their physiology to the forthcoming breeding season. Comparative studies have contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms of seasonal reproduction in vertebrates. Birds are excellent models for studying these phenomena because of their rapid and dramatic responses to changes in photoperiod. Deep brain photoreceptors in birds perceive and transmit light information to the pars tuberalis (PT) in the pituitary gland, where the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced. This PT-TSH locally increases the level of the bioactive thyroid hormone T3 via the induction of type 2 deiodinase production in the mediobasal hypothalamus, and an increased T3 level, in turn, controls seasonal gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion. In mammals, the eyes are the only photoreceptive structure, and nocturnal melatonin secretion encodes day-length information and regulates the PT-TSH signaling cascade. In Salmonidae, the saccus vasculosus plays a pivotal role as a photoperiodic sensor. Together, these studies have uncovered the universality and diversity of fundamental traits in vertebrates.
The neuronal growth cone is a highly motile, specialized structure for extending neuronal processes. This structure is essential for nerve growth, axon pathfinding, and accurate synaptogenesis. Growth cones are important not only during development but also for plasticity-dependent synaptogenesis and neuronal circuit rearrangement following neural injury in the mature brain. However, the molecular details of mammalian growth cone function are poorly understood. This review examines molecular findings on the function of the growth cone as a result of the introduction of novel methods such superresolution microscopy and (phospho)proteomics. These results increase the scope of our understating of the molecular mechanisms of growth cone behavior in the mammalian brain.
Pyrethroid insecticides contain natural pyrethrins extracted from pyrethrum flowers, and their synthetic derivatives, pyrethroids. The present article provides an overview of the structure of natural pyrethrins, and the discovery and development of pyrethroids with an emphasis on the background of selected compounds. The stereochemical relationships among pyrethroid secondary alcohols, and toxicologic and environmental effects of pyrethroids are also discussed. Finally, the pyrethroid resistance of mosquitoes and future aspects of pyrethroids are addressed.
Phytoplasmas, a large group of plant-pathogenic, phloem-inhabiting bacteria were discovered by Japanese scientists in 1967. They are transmitted from plant to plant by phloem-feeding insect hosts and cause a variety of symptoms and considerable damage in more than 1,000 plant species. In the first quarter century following the discovery of phytoplasmas, their tiny cell size and the difficulty in culturing them hampered their biological classification and restricted research to ecological studies such as detection by electron microscopy and identification of insect vectors. In the 1990s, however, tremendous advances in molecular biology and related technologies encouraged investigation of phytoplasmas at the molecular level. In the last quarter century, molecular biology has revealed important properties of phytoplasmas. This review summarizes the history and current status of phytoplasma research, focusing on their discovery, molecular classification, diagnosis of phytoplasma diseases, reductive evolution of their genomes, characteristic features of their plasmids, molecular mechanisms of insect transmission, virulence factors, and chemotherapy.
Reversible dynamics is well-known to obey variational principles based on the action being the time integral of a Lagrangian with time-reversal symmetry. The purpose of the present paper is to find dissipative Lagrangians giving variational principles in dissipative dynamics with broken time-reversal symmetry. Conceptually the present theory insists on new Least Dissipation & Work Principles (LDWP) based on variational integrals weighted in time, in order to unify variational principles of physics including irreversible processes on many-body systems. This is also closely related to the present author’s theory of entropy production in Kubo’s scheme of transport phenomena and all nonlinear responses beyond. Through these investigations, we can understand the meaning (as a variational integral) of the action of reversible dynamics.
A 1-ampere-class high-intensity deuteron linac (ImPACT2017 model) is proposed for mitigating long-lived fission products (LLFPs) by nuclear transmutation. This accelerator consists of single-cell rf cavities with magnetic focusing elements to accelerate deuterons beyond 1 A up to 200 MeV/u.