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Adaptive Function and Brain Evolution

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193066 Year: Pages: 266 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-306-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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The brain of each animal shows specific traits that reflect its phylogenetic history and its particular lifestyle. Therefore, comparing brains is not just a mere intellectual exercise, but it helps understanding how the brain allows adaptive behavioural strategies to face an ever-changing world and how this complex organ has evolved during phylogeny, giving rise to complex mental processes in humans and other animals. These questions attracted scientists since the times of Santiago Ramon y Cajal one of the founders of comparative neurobiology. In the last decade, this discipline has undergone a true revolution due to the analysis of expression patterns of morphogenetic genes in embryos of different animals. The papers of this e-book are good examples of modern comparative neurobiology, which mainly focuses on the following four Grand Questions: a) How are different brains built during ontogeny?b) What is the anatomical organization of mature brains and how can they be compared?c) How do brains work to accomplish their function of ensuring survival and, ultimately, reproductive success?d) How have brains evolved during phylogeny? The title of this e-book, Adaptive Function and Brain Evolution, stresses the importance of comparative studies to understand brain function and, the reverse, of considering brain function to properly understand brain evolution. These issues should be taken into account when using animals in the research of mental function and dysfunction, and are fundamental to understand the origins of the human mind.

Microglia in Health and Disease: A Unique Immune Cell Population

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889456017 Year: Pages: 108 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-601-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Neurology --- Allergy and Immunology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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Microglia are essential for the development and function of the adult brain. Their ontogeny, together with the absence of turnover from the periphery and the singular environment of the central nervous system (CNS), make microglia a unique cell population compared to other tissue-macrophages. The unique properties and functions of microglial cells, such as their role in synaptic pruning or the exceptional capacity to scan the brain parenchyma and rapidly react to its perturbations, have emerged in recent years. In the coming years, understanding how microglia acquire and maintain their unique profiles in order to fulfil distinct tasks in the healthy CNS and how these are altered in disease, will be essential to develop strategies to diagnose or treat CNS disorders with an immunological component.This Research Topic covers several aspects of microglial biology, ranging from their origin and the functional role of microglia during development and lifespan, their molecular properties compared with other brain and peripheral immune cells to microglial phenotypes and functional states in neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumours. In conclusion, the present Research Topic provides a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of several cellular and molecular mechanisms that make microglia a unique immune cell population within the healthy CNS as well as under inflammatory, neurodegenerative and tumorigenic processes.

Dendritic Cell and Macrophage Nomenclature and Classification

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199181 Year: Pages: 202 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-918-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Allergy and Immunology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) comprises dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes and macrophages (MØs) that together play crucial roles in tissue immunity and homeostasis, but also contribute to a broad spectrum of pathologies. They are thus attractive therapeutic targets for immune therapy. However, the distinction between DCs, monocytes and MØ subpopulations has been a matter of controversy and the current nomenclature has been a confounding factor. DCs are remarkably heterogeneous and consist of multiple subsets traditionally defined by their expression of various surface markers. While markers are important to define various populations of the MPS, they do not specifically define the intrinsic nature of a cell population and do not always segregate a bona fide cell type of relative homogeneity. Markers are redundant, or simply define distinct activation states within one subset rather than independent subpopulations. One example are the steady-state CD11b+ DCs which are often not distinguished from monocytes, monocyte-derived cells, and macrophages due to their overlapping phenotype. Lastly, monocyte fate during inflammation results in cells bearing the phenotypic and functional features of both DCs and MØs significantly adding to the confusion. In fact, depending on the context of the study and the focus of the laboratory, a monocyte-derived cell will be either be called "monocyte-derived DCs" or "macrophages". Because the names we give to cells are often associated with a functional connotation, this is much more than simple semantics. The "name" we give to a population fundamentally changes the perception of its biology and can impact on research design and interpretation. Recent evidence in the ontogeny and transcriptional regulation of DCs and MØs, combined with the identification of DC- and MØ-specific markers has dramatically changed our understanding of their interrelationship in the steady state and inflammation. In steady state, DCs are constantly replaced by circulating blood precursors that arise from committed progenitors in the bone marrow. Similarly, some MØ populations are also constantly replaced by circulating blood monocytes. However, others tissue MØs are derived from embryonic precursors, are seeded before birth and maintain themselves in adults by self-renewal. In inflammation, such differentiation pathways are fundamentally changed and unique monocyte-derived inflammatory cells are generated. Current DC, monocyte and MØ nomenclature does not take into account these new developments and as a consequence is quite confusing. We believe that the field is in need of a fresh view on this topic as well as an upfront debate on DC and MØ nomenclature. Our aim is to bring expert junior and senior scientists to revisit this topic in light of these recent developments. This Research Topic will cover all aspects of DC, monocyte and MØ biology including development, transcriptional regulation, functional specializations, in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, and in both human and mouse models. Given the central position of DCs, monocytes and MØs in tissue homeostasis, immunity and disease, this topic should be of interest to a large spectrum of the biomedical community.

Virtual Plants: Modeling Plant Architecture in Changing Environments

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450923 Year: Pages: 108 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-092-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Botany --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Plant architecture is a major determinant of the resource use efficiency of crops. The architecture of a plant shows ontogenetic structural changes which are modified by multiple environmental factors: Plant canopies are exposed to natural fluctuations in light quantity and the dynamically changing canopy architecture induces local variations in light quality. Changing temperature conditions or water availability during growth additionally affect plant architecture and thus crop productivity, because plants have various options to adapt their architecture to the available resources. Meeting the challenge of ensuring food security we must understand the plant’s mechanisms for integrating and responding to an orchestra of environmental factors. ‘Virtual plants’ describe plant architecture in silico. Virtual plants have the potential to help us understanding the complex feedback processes between canopy architecture, multiple environmental factors and crop productivity. As a research tool, they have become increasingly popular within the last decade due to their great power of realistically visualizing the plant’s architecture. This Research Topic highlights current research carried out on modeling plant architecture in changing environments.

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