Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org

List of Papers (Total 2,156)

Primoridal germ cell specification: a context-dependent cellular differentiation event

During embryonic development, the foundation of the germline is laid by the specification of primordial germ cells (PGCs) from the postimplantation epiblast via bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and WNT signalling. While the majority of epiblast cells undergo differentiation towards somatic cell lineages, PGCs initiate a unique cellular programme driven by the cooperation of the...

Heading forwards: anterior visceral endoderm migration in patterning the mouse embryo

The elaboration of anterior–posterior (A–P) pattern is one of the earliest events during development and requires the precisely coordinated action of several players at the level of molecules, cells and tissues. In mammals, it is controlled by a specialized population of migratory extraembryonic epithelial cells, the anterior visceral endoderm (AVE). The AVE is a signalling...

Developmental plasticity, cell fate specification and morphogenesis in the early mouse embryo

A critical point in mammalian development is when the early embryo implants into its mother's uterus. This event has historically been difficult to study due to the fact that it occurs within the maternal tissue and therefore is hidden from view. In this review, we discuss how the mouse embryo is prepared for implantation and the molecular mechanisms involved in directing and...

Mapping the route from naive pluripotency to lineage specification

In the mouse blastocyst, epiblast cells are newly formed shortly before implantation. They possess a unique developmental plasticity, termed naive pluripotency. For development to proceed, this naive state must be subsumed by multi-lineage differentiation within 72 h following implantation. In vitro differentiation of naive embryonic stem cells (ESCs) cultured in controlled...

The birth of embryonic pluripotency

Formation of a eutherian mammal requires concurrent establishment of embryonic and extraembryonic lineages. The functions of the trophectoderm and primitive endoderm are to enable implantation in the maternal uterus, axis specification and delivery of nutrients. The pluripotent epiblast represents the founding cell population of the embryo proper, which is protected from ectopic...

Losing the beat: deficits in temporal coordination

Tapping or clapping to an auditory beat, an easy task for most individuals, reveals precise temporal synchronization with auditory patterns such as music, even in the presence of temporal fluctuations. Most models of beat-tracking rely on the theoretical concept of pulse: a perceived regular beat generated by an internal oscillation that forms the foundation of entrainment...

Goal-directed learning and obsessive–compulsive disorder

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has become a paradigmatic case of goal-directed dysfunction in psychiatry. In this article, we review the neurobiological evidence, historical and recent, that originally led to this supposition and continues to support a habit hypothesis of OCD. We will then discuss a number of recent studies that have directly tested this hypothesis, using...

Model-based hierarchical reinforcement learning and human action control

Recent work has reawakened interest in goal-directed or ‘model-based’ choice, where decisions are based on prospective evaluation of potential action outcomes. Concurrently, there has been growing attention to the role of hierarchy in decision-making and action control. We focus here on the intersection between these two areas of interest, considering the topic of hierarchical...

The anatomy of choice: dopamine and decision-making

This paper considers goal-directed decision-making in terms of embodied or active inference. We associate bounded rationality with approximate Bayesian inference that optimizes a free energy bound on model evidence. Several constructs such as expected utility, exploration or novelty bonuses, softmax choice rules and optimism bias emerge as natural consequences of free energy...

An evolutionary computational theory of prefrontal executive function in decision-making

The prefrontal cortex subserves executive control and decision-making, that is, the coordination and selection of thoughts and actions in the service of adaptive behaviour. We present here a computational theory describing the evolution of the prefrontal cortex from rodents to humans as gradually adding new inferential Bayesian capabilities for dealing with a computationally...

Risks of hormonally active pharmaceuticals to amphibians: a growing concern regarding progestagens

Most amphibians breed in water, including the terrestrial species, and may therefore be exposed to water-borne pharmaceuticals during critical phases of the reproductive cycle, i.e. sex differentiation and gamete maturation. The objectives of this paper were to (i) review available literature regarding adverse effects of hormonally active pharmaceuticals on amphibians, with...

Putting pharmaceuticals into the wider context of challenges to fish populations in rivers

The natural range of fish species in our rivers is related to flow, elevation, temperature, local habitat and connectivity. For over 2000 years, humans have altered to varying degrees the river habitat. In the past 200 years, we added to the environmental disruption by discharging poorly treated sewage, nutrients and industrial waste into our rivers. For many rivers, the low...

Pollution from drug manufacturing: review and perspectives

As long ago as the sixteenth century, Paracelsus recognized that ‘the dose makes the poison’. Indeed, environmental concentrations of pharmaceuticals excreted by humans are limited, most importantly because a defined dose is given to just a fraction of the population. By contrast, recent studies have identified direct emission from drug manufacturing as a source of much higher...

Detection and drivers of exposure and effects of pharmaceuticals in higher vertebrates

Pharmaceuticals are highly bioactive compounds now known to be widespread environmental contaminants. However, research regarding exposure and possible effects in non-target higher vertebrate wildlife remains scarce. The fate and behaviour of most pharmaceuticals entering our environment via numerous pathways remain poorly characterized, and hence our conception and understanding...

Medicating the environment: assessing risks of pharmaceuticals to wildlife and ecosystems

Global pharmaceutical consumption is rising with the growing and ageing human population and more intensive food production. Recent studies have revealed pharmaceutical residues in a wide range of ecosystems and organisms. Environmental concentrations are often low, but pharmaceuticals typically are designed to have biological effects at low doses, acting on physiological systems...

What do we know about gliotransmitter release from astrocytes?

Astrocytes participate in information processing by actively modulating synaptic properties via gliotransmitter release. Various mechanisms of astrocytic release have been reported, including release from storage organelles via exocytosis and release from the cytosol via plasma membrane ion channels and pumps. It is still not fully clear which mechanisms operate under which...

Regulation of rhythm genesis by volume-limited, astroglia-like signals in neural networks

Rhythmic activity of the brain often depends on synchronized spiking of interneuronal networks interacting with principal neurons. The quest for physiological mechanisms regulating network synchronization has therefore been firmly focused on synaptic circuits. However, it has recently emerged that synaptic efficacy could be influenced by astrocytes that release signalling...

GABAB receptor-mediated activation of astrocytes by gamma-hydroxybutyric acid

The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) metabolite gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) shows a variety of behavioural effects when administered to animals and humans, including reward/addiction properties and absence seizures. At the cellular level, these actions of GHB are mediated by activation of neuronal GABAB receptors (GABABRs) where it acts as a weak agonist. Because astrocytes...

Cannabinoid receptors contribute to astroglial Ca2+-signalling and control of synaptic plasticity in the neocortex

Communication between neuronal and glial cells is thought to be very important for many brain functions. Acting via release of gliotransmitters, astrocytes can modulate synaptic strength. The mechanisms underlying ATP release from astrocytes remain uncertain with exocytosis being the most intriguing and debated pathway. We have demonstrated that ATP and d-serine can be released...