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Genetic variation in CHRNA5, the gene encoding the α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit, increases vulnerability to tobacco addiction and lung cancer, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here we report markedly increased nicotine intake in mice with a null mutation in Chrna5. This effect was 'rescued' in knockout mice by re-expressing α5(More)
Cocaine addiction is characterized by a gradual loss of control over drug use, but the molecular mechanisms regulating vulnerability to this process remain unclear. Here we report that microRNA-212 (miR-212) is upregulated in the dorsal striatum of rats with a history of extended access to cocaine. Striatal miR-212 decreases responsiveness to the(More)
Damage to the insular cortex can profoundly disrupt tobacco addiction in human smokers, reflected in spontaneous cessation of the tobacco habit and persistently decreased urge to smoke. Little is known concerning the neurobiological mechanisms through which the insula may control the maintenance of the tobacco habit. Emerging evidence suggests that(More)
PtdIns(3)P plays critical roles in the autophagy pathway. However, little is known about how PtdIns(3)P effectors act with autophagy proteins in autophagosome formation. Here we identified an essential autophagy gene in C. elegans, epg-6, which encodes a WD40 repeat-containing protein with PtdIns(3)P-binding activity. EPG-6 directly interacts with ATG-2.(More)
The neocortical primary somatosensory area (S1) consists of a map of the body surface. The cortical area devoted to different regions, such as parts of the face or hands, reflects their functional importance. Here we investigated the role of genetically determined positional labels in neocortical mapping. Ephrin-A5 was expressed in a medial > lateral(More)
During programmed cell death, apoptotic cells are recognized and rapidly engulfed by phagocytes. Although a number of genes have been identified that promote cell corpse engulfment, it is not well understood how phagocytosis of apoptotic cells is negatively regulated. Here we have identified Caenorhabditis elegans myotubularin MTM-1 as a negative regulator(More)
The molecular understanding of autophagy has originated almost exclusively from yeast genetic studies. Little is known about essential autophagy components specific to higher eukaryotes. Here we perform genetic screens in C. elegans and identify four metazoan-specific autophagy genes, named epg-2, -3, -4, and -5. Genetic analysis reveals that epg-2, -3, -4,(More)
Tight junctions form the primary barrier regulating the diffusion of fluid, electrolytes and macromolecules through the paracellular pathway. Claudins are the major structural and functional components of tight junction strands and are considered as the best candidates for forming paracellular channels. They are a family of integral membrane proteins with(More)
The signaling activities of multiple developmental ligands require sulfated heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans as coreceptors. QSulf1 and its mammalian orthologs are cell surface HS 6-O-endosulfatases that are expressed in embryonic mesodermal and neural progenitors and promote Wnt signal transduction. In this study, we have investigated the function of(More)