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Of the many brain events evoked by a visual stimulus, which are specifically associated with conscious perception, and which merely reflect non-conscious processing? Several recent neuroimaging studies have contrasted conscious and non-conscious visual processing, but their results appear inconsistent. Some support a correlation of conscious perception with(More)
Recent experimental studies and theoretical models have begun to address the challenge of establishing a causal link between subjective conscious experience and measurable neuronal activity. The present review focuses on the well-delimited issue of how an external or internal piece of information goes beyond nonconscious processing and gains access to(More)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) expressed by dopaminergic (DA) neurons have long been considered as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of several neuropsychiatric diseases, including nicotine and cocaine addiction or Parkinson's disease. However, DA neurons express mRNAs coding for most, if not all, neuronal nAChR subunits, and the(More)
Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels from the Cys-loop family mediate fast chemo-electrical transduction, but the mechanisms of ion permeation and gating of these membrane proteins remain elusive. Here we present the X-ray structure at 2.9 A resolution of the bacterial Gloeobacter violaceus pentameric ligand-gated ion channel homologue (GLIC) at pH 4.6 in(More)
The alpha6 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is expressed at very high levels in dopaminergic (DA) neurons. However, because of the lack of pharmacological tools selective for alpha6-containing nAChRs, the role of this subunit in the etiology of nicotine addiction remains unknown. To provide new tools to investigate this issue, we(More)
RATIONALE Tobacco use is implicated in approximately 440,000 deaths per year, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Although it is generally recognized that tobacco use is correlated with a variety of health-related complications, many smokers are unsuccessful in their efforts to stop smoking using current cessation(More)
Even in the absence of sensory inputs, cortical and thalamic neurons can show structured patterns of ongoing spontaneous activity, whose origins and functional significance are not well understood. We use computer simulations to explore the conditions under which spontaneous activity emerges from a simplified model of multiple interconnected thalamocortical(More)
General anaesthetics have enjoyed long and widespread use but their molecular mechanism of action remains poorly understood. There is good evidence that their principal targets are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) such as inhibitory GABA(A) (γ-aminobutyric acid) receptors and excitatory nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are respectively(More)
The subjective experience of perceiving visual stimuli is accompanied by objective neuronal activity patterns such as sustained activity in primary visual area (V1), amplification of perceptual processing, correlation across distant regions, joint parietal, frontal, and cingulate activation, gamma-band oscillations, and P300 waveform. We describe a neuronal(More)
The past decades have seen a revolution in our understanding of brain diseases and in particular of drug addiction. This has been largely due to the identification of neurotransmitter receptors and the development of animal models, which together have enabled the investigation of brain functions from the molecular to the cognitive level. Tobacco smoking,(More)