The Importance Of Noise And What Has A Biological Function? Eve Marder And Colleagues

1222 Words Jan 20th, 2016 5 Pages
Neurons are only a subset of the billions of cells in our brain, but they are the powerhouse driving everything we do. Common genetic and cellular properties define them as neurons. Beyond these defining features, neurons are heterogeneous in there gene expression, shape, and role in driving behavior (cite Zeisel et al. 2015 and Kamme et al 2003). Even within very homogenous populations such as the pyramidal CA1 neurons, there is significant variation in neuronal properties.
This leads to the question of what is noise and what has a biological function? Eve Marder and colleagues eloquently demonstrated that gene expression changes we think are biologically relevant are often compensated for resulting in the same biological output of the neuron or system. If the behavioral output is the same, do the changes in ion channel composition matter on a behavioral level? This also highlights the necessity to know every transcript in the cell. We also know that not all gene expression is compensated for, specifically synaptic plasticity. This thrives on heterogenous features. Recent work highlights the diversity of neurons and within this diversity, the unique role some neurons play in behavior over other others.
The power of the study above and in this proposal lies in the use of a small model organism (Drosophila melanogaster) with a well-defined behavioral assay (aversive olfactory long-term memory (LTM)) and identified neural circuitry underlying this behavior…

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