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Reviews to Read

Computational approaches to detect allosteric pathways in transmembrane molecular machines

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul;1858(7 Pt B):1652-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2016.01.010. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Stolzenberg S, Michino M, LeVine MV, Weinstein H, Shi L.

Many of the functions of transmembrane proteins involved in signal processing and transduction across the cell membrane are determined by allosteric couplings that propagate the functional effects well beyond the original site of activation. Data gathered from breakthroughs in biochemistry, crystallography, and single molecule fluorescence have established a rich basis of information for the study of molecular mechanisms in the allosteric couplings of such transmembrane proteins. The mechanistic details of these couplings...

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2017 WSA Award Winners.

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Congratulations to the 2017 Women Scientist Advisors Committee award winners at the NIDA IRP!

This year's winners at the NIDA IRP are Lindsay De Biase (Postdoctoral Fellow), Jayanthi Sankar (Staff Scientist) and Marisela Morales (Investigator). The winners were presented with trophies at the Biomedical Research Center this month.

The WSA awards recognize women scientists at NIDA for their scientific accomplishments.

Learn more about the Women Scientist Advisors Committee here.

Study authors William Rea, Ning Sheng Cai and Cesar Quiroz-Molina
William Rea, Ning Sheng Cai and
Cesar Quiroz-Molina
Featured paper of the Month!

May: Functional μ-Opioid-Galanin Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area

J Neurosci. 2017 Feb 1;37(5):1176-1186. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2442-16.2016. Epub 2016 Dec 22.

Moreno E, Quiroz C, Rea W, Cai NS, Mallol J, Cortés A, Lluís C, Canela EI, Casadó V, Ferré S.

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) receives phenotypically distinct innervations from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). While PPTg-to-VTA inputs are thought to play a critical role in stimulus-reward learning, direct evidence linking PPTg-to-VTA phenotypically distinct inputs in the learning process remains lacking. Here, we used optogenetic approaches to investigate the functional contribution of PPTg excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the VTA in appetitive Pavlovian conditioning....

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Da-Ting Lin
Da-Ting Lin

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Congratulations to Da-Ting Lin for winning a 2016 Health and Human Services (HHS) Green Champion Award!

2016 Award for Sustainable Acquisitions - Individual
Dr. Da-Ting Lin has worked diligently as an Investigator to integrate sustainable practices into his research using in vivo optical imaging methods. He has prioritized energy conservation, financial savings, and protecting both human and environmental health through his work. He is conscious of the impact his research has on the environment and makes significant efforts to promote sustainability within laboratories. He has worked tirelessly to develop the miniScope imaging system which produces outstanding results while being budget conscious and energy efficient. He incorporated LEDs in the system, which are more environmentally sustainable compared to traditional lights. He is also innovative with protocols and avoids mercury in his work. He also promotes awareness of sustainability within the government through staff training and realizes the potential to encourage others to follow his example.

More information here

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Melissa J Sharpe
Hot off the Press!

Dopamine transients are sufficient and necessary for acquisition of model-based associations

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Apr 3. doi: 10.1038/nn.4538. [Epub ahead of print]

Melissa J Sharpe, Chun Yun Chang, Melissa A Liu, Hannah M Batchelor, Lauren E Mueller, Joshua L Jones, Yael Niv & Geoffrey Schoenbaum

Associative learning is driven by prediction errors. Dopamine transients correlate with these errors, which current interpretations limit to endowing cues with a scalar quantity reflecting the value of future rewards. We tested whether dopamine might act more broadly to support learning of an associative model of the environment. Using sensory preconditioning, we show that prediction errors underlying stimulus-stimulus learning can be blocked behaviorally and reinstated by optogenetically activating dopamine neurons. We further show that suppressing the firing of these neurons across the transition prevents normal stimulus-stimulus learning...

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Daniele Caprioli
Daniele Caprioli
Featured paper of the Month!

April: Role of Dorsomedial Striatum Neuronal Ensembles in Incubation of Methamphetamine Craving after Voluntary Abstinence

J Neurosci. 2017 Jan 25;37(4):1014-1027. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3091-16.2017.

Daniele Caprioli, Marco Venniro, Michelle Zhang, Jennifer M. Bossert, Brandon L. Warren, Bruce T. Hope, and Yavin Shaham

We recently developed a rat model of incubation of methamphetamine craving after choice-based voluntary abstinence. Here, we studied the role of dorsolateral striatum (DLS) and dorsomedial striatum (DMS) in this incubation. We trained rats to selfadminister palatable food pellets (6 d, 6 h/d) and methamphetamine (12 d, 6 h/d). We then assessed relapse to methamphetamine...

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Hot off the Press!

Circuit specificity in the inhibitory architecture of the VTA regulates cocaine-induced behavior

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Mar;20(3):438-448. doi: 10.1038/nn.4482. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Edwards NJ, Tejeda HA, Pignatelli M, Zhang S, McDevitt RA, Wu J, Bass CE, Bettler B, Morales M, Bonci A.

Afferent inputs to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) control reward-related behaviors through regulation of dopamine neuron activity. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) provides one of the most prominent projections to the VTA; however, recent studies have provided conflicting evidence regarding the function of these inhibitory inputs. Using optogenetics, cell-specific ablation, whole cell patch-clamp and immuno-electron microscopy, we found that NAc inputs synapsed directly onto dopamine neurons, preferentially activating GABAB receptors. GABAergic inputs from the NAc and local VTA GABA neurons were differentially...

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Sufang Li

Sufang Li
Featured paper of the Month!

FEBRUARY: CYP2A6 Genetic Variation Alters Striatal-Cingulate Circuits, Network Hubs, and Executive Processing in Smokers.

Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Sep 28. pii: S0006-3223(16)32824-4. 2016.09.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Li S, Yang Y, Hoffmann E, Tyndale RF, Stein EA.

METHODS: Intrinsic functional connectivity strength, a whole-brain, data-driven, graph theory-based method, was applied to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data in 66 smokers and 92 nonsmokers. A subset of subjects (n = 23/20; smokers/nonsmokers) performed the monetary incentive delay task, probing reward anticipation, and a go/no-go task, probing response inhibition, on two occasions, in the presence and absence of a nicotine patch.....

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Hot off the Press!

Synaptic Plasticity onto Dopamine Neurons Shapes Fear Learning.

Neuron. 2017 Jan 18;93(2):425-440.

Pignatelli M, Umanah GK, Ribeiro SP, Chen R, Karuppagounder SS, Yau HJ, Eacker S, Dawson VL, Dawson TM, Bonci A.

Fear learning is a fundamental behavioral process that requires dopamine (DA) release. Experience-dependent synaptic plasticity occurs on DA neurons while an organism is engaged in aversive experiences. However, whether synaptic plasticity onto DA neurons is causally involved in aversion learning is unknown. Here, we show that a stress priming procedure enhances fear learning by engaging VTA synaptic plasticity. Moreover, we took advantage of the ability of the ATPase Thorase to regulate...

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Featured paper of the Month!

JANUARY: Pontomesencephalic Tegmental Afferents to VTA Non-dopamine Neurons Are Necessary for Appetitive Pavlovian Learning

Cell Rep.2016 Sep 6;16(10):2699-710. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Yau HJ, Wang DV, Tsou JH, Chuang YF, Chen BT, Deisseroth K, Ikemoto S, Bonci A.

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) receives phenotypically distinct innervations from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). While PPTg-to-VTA inputs are thought to play a critical role in stimulus-reward learning, direct evidence linking PPTg-to-VTA phenotypically distinct inputs in the learning process remains lacking. Here, we used optogenetic approaches to investigate the functional contribution of PPTg excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the VTA in appetitive Pavlovian conditioning....

More about this paper on PubMed


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