Michael I Shifman

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The sea lamprey recovers from spinal cord transection by a process that involves directionally specific regeneration of axons. The mechanisms underlying this specificity are not known, but they may involve molecular cues similar to those that guide the growth of spinal cord axons during development, such as netrins and semaphorins. To test the role of(More)
There is controversy about whether axotomized neurons undergo death or only severe atrophy after spinal cord injury (SCI) in mammals. Lampreys recover from complete spinal transection, but only about half of the severed spinal-projecting axons regenerate through the site of injury. The fates of the unregenerated neurons remain unknown, and until now death(More)
Apoptosis is a major feature in neural development and important in traumatic diseases. The presence of active caspases is a widely accepted marker of apoptosis. We report here the development of a method to study neuronal apoptotic death in whole-mounted brain preparations using fluorochrome-labeled inhibitors of caspases (FLICA). As a model we used(More)
To explore the role of axon guidance molecules during regeneration in the lamprey spinal cord, we examined the expression of mRNAs for semaphorin 3 (Sema3), semaphorin 4 (Sema4), and netrin during regeneration by in situ hybridization. Control lampreys contained netrin-expressing neurons along the length of the spinal cord. After spinal transection, netrin(More)
Lampreys belong to the oldest group of extant vertebrates, the agnathans or cyclostomes. Thus, they occupy a key phylogenetic position near the root of the vertebrate tree, which makes them important to the study of nervous system evolution. Tyrosine hydroxylase is the rate-limiting enzyme of catecholamine biosynthesis and is considered a marker of(More)
The sea lamprey recovers normal-appearing locomotion after spinal cord transection and its spinal axons regenerate selectively in their correct paths. However, among identified reticulospinal neurons some are consistently bad regenerators and only about 50% of severed reticulospinal axons regenerate through the site of injury. We previously suggested(More)
The large, conserved semaphorin gene family encodes axon guidance molecules in both invertebrates and vertebrates. The primitive vertebrate lamprey diverged near the time of vertebrate origins and is useful for understanding the gene duplication events that led to the increased complexity of the vertebrate genome. We characterized the sequence and(More)
The lamprey has been used as a model for the study of vertebrate neuronal circuitry and spinal cord regeneration. One of the advantages of this preparation is the ability to view the entire CNS in wholemount, including several identified neurons and neuron groups. However, because of difficulties in penetration of molecular reagents past the dense meninx(More)
This report describes a sensitive, rapid and reproducible protocol for non-isotopic Northern blotting analysis. Church buffer and probes labeled with digoxigenin (DIG) were used for studying the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the rat brain. Using the described method, NGF cRNA probe was hybridized to blotted RNA and the results were compared to(More)
UNC5 receptors mediate repulsive signaling of netrin on neurons. Although only one UNC5 receptor has been identified in invertebrates, four members of the UNC5 family have been identified in gnathostomes. Lampreys, together with mixynes, belong to the oldest branch of extant vertebrates, and their phylogenetic position near to the vertebrate root makes them(More)