Newfound Neurons

Researchers identify a new type of brain cell in male Caenorhabditis elegans.

By | October 19, 2015

WIKIMEDIA, NHGRIIn a species whose neural circuits have been comprehensively mapped, researchers at University College London and their colleagues have identified a new type of neuron. These glia-derived neurons, which researchers dubbed “mystery cells of the male,” or MCMs, are tied to sex-specific learning in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Researchers reported their finding in Nature last week (October 14).

Arantza Barrios of University College London happened upon MCMs while examining the neuronal distribution of the peptide pdf-1, Nature News reported. “I found it was expressed in a bed of cells that didn’t correspond to any previous description,” Barrios told The Washington Post. Pdf-1 expression was limited to sexually mature male C. elegans.

Finding a new set of neurons in a well-studied system “is a bit of a shock,” study coauthor Richard Poole of University College London told Nature News, which noted that the team next plans to explore  MCMs’ roles in brain sex differences and in learning. (See “Sex Differences in the Brain,” The Scientist, October 2015.)

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Thousands of Mutations Accumulate in the Human Brain Over a Lifetime
  2. Two Dozen House Republicans Do an About-Face on Tuition Tax
  3. Can Young Stem Cells Make Older People Stronger?
  4. Putative Gay Genes Identified, Questioned
    The Nutshell Putative Gay Genes Identified, Questioned

    A genomic interrogation of homosexuality turns up speculative links between genetic elements and sexual orientation, but researchers say the study is too small to be significant.