Brainscapes by Vivian Budnik

In inceptum finis est
ouroborous

Caption: "In inceptum finis est" ----"in the beginning is the end"----

The snake bitting its tail ("ouroboros') is an ancient symbol used in many cultures, to indicate the circularity of life processes. In this paper (Korkut et al, (2013). "Regulation of postsynaptic retrograde signaling by presynaptic exosome release." Neuron 77: 1039-1039) we find that retrograde signals are also circular. The end is the retrograde signal, but the beginning is the release of Syt4 by presynaptic cells. Drawing in black ink, modified using Image J software. Cover of  Neuron (2013)77.


 

Defeating axon death

axon

Caption:"Defeating Axon Death".

Sometimes, depending on genetics, axons continue to survive, even without cell bodies. Drawing dedicated to Dr. Marc Freeman and his paper: Osterloh et al (2012) dSarm/Sarm is required for activation of an injury-induced axon death pathway. Science 27:481.


 

 

Distilling the signal

signal

Caption: "Distilling the Signal"

Hunger makes Drosophila larvae move faster in search of food. Koon and colleagues (Koon et al (2011) Autoregulatory and paracrine control of synaptic and behavioral plasticity by octopaminergic signaling. Nat Neurosci 14: 190-199) show that starvation increased branching of octopaminergic motor neurons' axonal terminal arbors, driven by octopamine released from these same motor neurons. The increased locomotor activity of starved larvae required octopaminergic signaling. On the cover is a drawing by Vivian Budnik.


 

exosome harvest

exosome

 caption:


The great nuclear escape
nuclear

 Caption: "The great nuclear escape"

Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) have long been assumed to be the sole gateway for macromolecular transport in and out of the nucleus. Speese et al. (Cell (2012) 149: 832-846) provide evidence that, during Wnt-regulated synapse development, large ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules carrying postsynaptic mRNAs are exported out of the nucleus through an alternative mechanism. The granules bud through the nuclear envelope. Although this mechanism has been previously demonstrated for the nuclear egress of herpes-type viruses, Speese et al. now suggest that exit through nuclear envelope budding is an endogenous mechanism for the export of large RNPs. The drawing, “Searching the way out of the nucleus,” represents a long journey through “brainscapes,” searching for a route out of the postsynaptic nucleus. In the end, the only way out was budding across the nuclear envelope. Ink drawing by Vivian Budnik, modified using ImageJ software. Cover issue.


migration
butterflies

 Caption: "Migration"

To Steven Reppert. An ink drawing of monarch butterflies migrating through their genetically programmed “internal” landscape. Each fall, millions of monarchs migrate from eastern North America to their overwintering grounds in central Mexico. In this issue, a highly efficient gene-targeting approach, using zinc-finger nucleases, is used to define an essential transcriptional repressor as part of the genetic basis of the long-distance monarch migration, where an intact circadian clock is necessary for proper sun compass navigation. (Cover illustration by Vivian Budnik. [For details, see Merlin et al,Genome Research (2013) 21: 159–168.])


glia
glia

 caption:


glial feast
glial feast

 Caption:


in search of my memories
memories

 Caption: "In search of my memories"

The changes in synaptic connec


all eyes on you
all eyes

 caption:


a side door at the nuclear envelope
torsin

 caption:


nuclearscape
nuclearscape

 caption: "Nuclearscape": an explanation to HHMI

To Melissa Moore for her HHMI renewal. Large RNA–protein particles exit the nucleus by fusing with and budding through the nuclear envelope.


The eye and the homeobox
the homeobox and the eye

 in inceptvm finis est


Synaptic intimacy
Evi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Caption: "Synaptic intimancy"

Wnts have emerged as critical, evolutionarily conserved signals for synapse maturation and synaptic plasticity. Korkut et al. (pp. 393–404) show that the Drosophila Wnt Wingless is transported across the synapse through the use of an exosome-like vesicle containing the Wnt-binding protein Evenness Interrupted/Wntless. Although the release of exosome-like vesicles has been documented in the immune system, the release of such vesicles by synapses has not previously been recognized as a means of synaptic communication. The cover artwork is an ink drawing  by Vivian Budnik

Korkut, C., et al. (2009). "Trans-synaptic transmission of vesicular Wnt signals through Evi/Wntless." Cell 139(2): 393-404.


 

Defeating axon death

axon

Caption:"Defeating Axon Death".

Sometimes, depending on genetics, axons continue to survive, even without cell bodies. Drawing dedicated to Dr. Marc Freeman and his paper: Osterloh et al (2012) dSarm/Sarm is required for activation of an injury-induced axon death pathway. Science 27:481.