PrPC, the cellular isoform of the prion protein, serves to transduce the neurotoxic effects of PrPSc, the infectious isoform, but how this occurs is mysterious. Here, using a combination of electrophysiological, cellular, and biophysical techniques, we show that the flexible, N-terminal domain of PrPC functions as a powerful toxicity-transducing effector whose activity is tightly regulated in cis by the globular C-terminal domain. Ligands binding to the N-terminal domain abolish the spontaneous ionic currents associated with neurotoxic mutants of PrP, and the isolated N-terminal domain induces currents when expressed in the absence of the C-terminal domain. Anti-PrP antibodies targeting epitopes in the C-terminal domain induce currents, and cause degeneration of dendrites on murine hippocampal neurons, effects that entirely dependent on the effector function of the N-terminus. NMR experiments demonstrate intramolecular docking between N- and C-terminal domains of PrPC, revealing a novel auto-inhibitory mechanism that regulates the functional activity of PrPC.
- Bei Wu
- Alex McDonald
- Celeste B Rich
- David Harris
- Markham Kathleen
- Glenn L Millhauser
- Kyle P Mchugh
- Colby David
- Kyle P Mchugh
- Colby David
- Jörg Tatzelt
N.I.H. R01 NS065244 to D.A.H had a role in study design, data collection and interpretation.N.I.H. R01 GM065790 to G.L.M. had a role in data collection.N.I.H. GM104316 to D.W.C. and N.S.F. grant 1454508 to D.W.C. had a role in data collection.German Research Foundation (TA 167/6) to J.T. had a role in data collection.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#AN14997) of Boston University.
- J Paul Taylor, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, United States
© 2017, Wu et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The automatic initiation of actions can be highly functional. But occasionally these actions cannot be withheld and are released at inappropriate times, impulsively. Striatal activity has been shown to participate in the timing of action sequence initiation and it has been linked to impulsivity. Using a self-initiated task, we trained adult male rats to withhold a rewarded action sequence until a waiting time interval has elapsed. By analyzing neuronal activity we show that the striatal response preceding the initiation of the learned sequence is strongly modulated by the time subjects wait before eliciting the sequence. Interestingly, the modulation is steeper in adolescent rats, which show a strong prevalence of impulsive responses compared to adults. We hypothesize this anticipatory striatal activity reflects the animals’ subjective reward expectation, based on the elapsed waiting time, while the steeper waiting modulation in adolescence reflects age-related differences in temporal discounting, internal urgency states, or explore–exploit balance.
How dynamic interactions between nervous system regions in mammals performs online motor control remains an unsolved problem. In this paper, we show that feedback control is a simple, yet powerful way to understand the neural dynamics of sensorimotor control. We make our case using a minimal model comprising spinal cord, sensory and motor cortex, coupled by long connections that are plastic. It succeeds in learning how to perform reaching movements of a planar arm with 6 muscles in several directions from scratch. The model satisfies biological plausibility constraints, like neural implementation, transmission delays, local synaptic learning and continuous online learning. Using differential Hebbian plasticity the model can go from motor babbling to reaching arbitrary targets in less than 10 min of in silico time. Moreover, independently of the learning mechanism, properly configured feedback control has many emergent properties: neural populations in motor cortex show directional tuning and oscillatory dynamics, the spinal cord creates convergent force fields that add linearly, and movements are ataxic (as in a motor system without a cerebellum).