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BIOL 415 Nerve cell mechanisms in behavior
BIOL 615 Neural bases of behavior
Final May 12, 2011 - Prof. Stark
All questions are short answer. 65 points total

1. For cAMP in olfactory receptor cells, answer either (1) What enzyme makes it? Or (2) What does it do?

adenylate cyclase, gates a sodium-calcium channel

2. Say something relating the richness of human olfactory sensation and how it is related to the diversity of G protein coupled receptors.

substantial richness is mediated by nearly 1000 different GPCRs

3. How do dihydropyridine and ryanodine receptors interact to enable interaction of sliding filaments?

calcium channel in t-tubule interacts with calcium channel in sarcoplasmic reticulum for calcium release

4. How localized, to spinal segments, would you expect to find the alpha motor neurons for a muscle like the gastrocnemius or the soleus?

Might ne spread over 5 segments

5. Say something about mototopic organization of motor neurons in the ventral horn.

proximal muscles are medial, flexors are dorsal

6. You withdraw one supporting leg because you stepped on something painful. What happens to the opposite leg's flexor?

it is inhibited via interneurons

7. Where are the cells that form the lateral and medial tracts of the pyramidal motor system?

precentral gyrus

8. In the Brown Sequard syndrome, the motor impairment below a half spinal cord lesion is most like (which sensory system?).

like the lemniscal system

9. What is a major difference in how the primary motor cortex vs the cingulate motor area innervates the face?

lower face from primary motor cortex is contralateral, upper face from cingulate is bilateral

10. Of course, the corticospinal tract is the brain's main influence on spinal motor neurons, even integrating in the processing from the basal ganglia. There are several other brain locations that send information to the spinal cord. Name one.

superior colliculus, red nucleus, reticular formation and vestibular nuclei

11. The corticobulbar tract is used for (what function?) for (what part of the body?). Answer both.

motor function in the face

12. The superior cerebellar peduncle (brachium conjunctivum) carries information from deep cerebellar nuclei to (where?).

VL complex (thalamus)

13. In a wiring diagram (or a block diagram), the caudate and putamen make their next connection (where?).

globus pallidus

14. Compared with a person with no motor impairment, describe the magnitude of signal from the VA/VL complex of the thalamus to the cerebral cortex for someone with Huntington's disease.


15. The basal ganglia collect information from what portion of the cerebral cortex?

most of it

16. What part of the brain is most affected in the mutants reeler, weaver, leaner, lurcher, nervous and staggerer?


17. Say something about how the "gaze center" (PPRF) in the reticular formation connects to the occulomotor nucleus.

via abducens nucleus, with a decussation

18. The frog's eye connects to the visual part of the brain, the tectum. In humans [answer either] (1) What is the tectum called? Or (2) What aspect of vision does the human analog of the tectum subserve?

superior colliculus, eye movements

19. Say something about the receptor in the MAP kinase (or the sevenless) signaling pathway.

transmenbrane receptor tyrosine kinase

20. Somehow a cell is told to become R7 in every ommatidium (facet) of the Drosophila compound eye. Answer either (1) What cell tells that cell to become R7? Or (2) What is the ligand on that cell that sends the signal?

R8, boss

21. For retinoic acid, [answer either] (1) What would happen if you treated embryonic stem cells with retinoic acid? Or (2) What would be required for it to activate transcription of specific genes?

they would become neural stem cells, a retinoic acid receptor (RAR), and response element (RARE) and dimerization with another hormone-receptor complex

22. In "diseases in a dish," how did S. S. Hall propose to get motor neurons from an elderly donor, one from a family with familial ALS, to test drugs on?

skin cells would be used to get neurons and only then would they begin

23. Why did they decide to call bicoid a "maternal gene?"

mRNA expressed in maternal cells where protein is made (and put into egg)

24. If you tried Sperry's experiment, turning the eye up-side-down and letting it reconnect to the tectum, before stage 28, how would the frog respond to a moving fly presented to the side of its visual field?

it would flick its tongue to the correct place

25. Dogma has it that there is no regeneration of neurons in the mammalian central nervous system. Describe how post-mitotic cells exit from the cell cycle.

arrest in G1

26. Based on what you have learned in a neuroscience course, rationalize a type of mutation that could be a genetic cause of epilepsy.

a channel

27. What is the part of the limbic system inside the temporal lobe most commonly associated with epilepsy?


28. What does the neural crest become?

sensory neurons, sympathetic nervous system, adrenal medulla, melanocytes

29. What finding led to the conclusion that apoptosis reduced the number of spinal motor neurons to the right number to innervate a limb?

there were enough precursors of cells to innervate two limb buds

30. In all of our coverage of neuroanatomy of the spinal cord, with terms like "ventral horn" and "dorsal columns," there was no mention of floor plate and pMN. Why not?

these are in the embryonic neural tube

31. What kind of a molecule is a chemokine receptor?

G protein coupled

32. "Olig-2 is expressed in oligodendrocyte precursors and it is a basic helix-loop-helix factor." What does such a factor do in the cell?

regulate transcription

33. What is the difference at birth vs. at maturity of how many spinal motor neurons can innervate one end plate?

at maturity, only one, more earlier

34. Long-term-potentiation is a synaptic model for learning. What is the analogous model for change in efficiency of transmission at the neuromuscular junction?

post-tetanic potentiation

35. "Pairing parallel and climbing fiber activations cause AMPA receptors to be internalized (from the post-synaptic membrane into intracellular vesicles)." Answer either (1) On what cell? Or (2) What is this model of learning called?

Purkinje cell, long term depression

36. "Potentiating GABA inhibition with diazepam widens columns." Why was this statement offered in the context of cellular bases of learning?

applies to the (re) establishment of ocular dominance columns

37. After half an hour in a dark room, you are much more sensitive. After a prolonged forceful muscle contraction, that contraction becomes weaker. Why is Kandel's work on habituation of the gill withdrawal reflex considered a model of learning while the other two examples are not?

at a synapse, not receptor adaptation or motor fatigue

38. How was ubiquitin hydrolase shown to be relevant in long-term sensitization?

breaking down inhibitory subunits activates PKA long term

39. Describe the performance on the line bisection task in a patient with hemispatial (contralateral) neglect syndrome.

nowhere the middle

40. Language is on the left side of the brain even in left-handed people." How was this shown?

Wada procedure, put anesthetic (sodium amytal in one carotid

41. What do you do to present a visual stimulus to only the left cerebral cortex in a patient whose corpus callosum has been severed?

right visual field (keep eye fixation) crosses (for both eyes) since optic chiasm is not severed

42. What do you call fibers that connect adjacent gyri?


43. "The lateral hypothalamus must be a hunger center since lesioning it results in a thinner rat." Offer an alternative explanation of that result.

after the rat recovers from attaching a chronic implant on the head, gently stimulate the LH after a bar press

LH lesions interrupt the dopaminergic tract involved in affect and reward

44. What was done to demonstrate that electrical stimulation could be used as a positive reinforcement in operant conditioning in a Skinner box?

45. What is the difference in either [(1) the appearance of - or - (2) the way the brain mediates] a pyramidal smile vs. a Duchenne smile?

inability to will a symmetrical smile in involuntary response to humpr

46. Why is REM sleep called paradoxical sleep?

EEG resembles that of the aroused state

47. "It is like a sympathetic ganglion in the brain." Answer either (1) Why? Or (2) What structure?

puts out norepinephrine, locus coeruleus

48. What place in the brain has photoreceptors that are important in entraining circadian rhythms in vertebrates with small heads?


49. Say something about the location or function of melanopsin.

In ganglion cells, can mediate entrainment to light/dark cycle even if there are no rods

50. Hubel and Wiesel's Nobel Prize - winning description of cells such as simple cells addresses the mechanisms of visual processing. The more mental issue of how we see what we see invokes the transfer of information from the striate cortex to (name one of the two areas).

temporal and parietal lobes

51. Hubel and Wiesel described simple, complex and hypercomplex cells. One implication would be that groups of each type of cell would be integrated into higher and higher levels of cells until there is a cell specific to recognizing your grandmother's face. Say one thing that is wrong with this reasoning.

there are not enough cells to have one for every unique perception, finding it would be like finding a needle in a haystack and so sould not be systematic science

52. Testosterone under the skin of a female rat pup would do what to the feeding behavior when she is an adult?

feeding would be more like that of a male, animal would get heavier than a female

53. Part of the pituitary releases peptides, including ADH (antidiuretic hormone = ADH) that are made in the hypothalamus, and so this part of the pituitary gland is really an extension of the brain rather than a real endocrine gland. Answer either (1) What is this part of the pituitary called? Or (2) What is the other peptide hormone released from this part of the pituitary called?

posterior pituitary (neurohypophisis), oxytocin

54. What does the story about the sex change operation of a young twin after a mishap in the circumcision operation tell us about gender identity?

it is not based on upbringing as much as previously thought, more biology

55. Under what circumstances would the adrenal cortex lead to alterations in gender identity or sexual morphology?

congenital adrenal hyperplasia would tend to masculinize female morphology and behavior

56. How in the world did your professor get from testes at twelve to androgenic alopecia?

testes at 12 is from genetic lack of 5 alpha reductase which creates di hydro testosterone that contributes to the sex-limited trait of baldness

57. What differences did Simon LeVay find among men in the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus?

homosexual vs heterosexual men differ, the homosexual males have a higher cell count and volume, resembling those of women

58. How is the somatosensory cortex different for non-lactating vs lactating female rats?

there is a larger representation for the ventrum (where the nipples are) if lactation

59. A pigeon learns well in a Skinner box and then is retired for many years in a home cage. Placed back in the Skinner box for the first time after many years, what is the performance like and why?

it is at the level years earlier suggesting that forgetting is not as important as extinction

60. "There is more RNA in the hippocampus of a rat that has gained mastery in a T-maze learning task than in a control." Say something wrong with this statement as a summary of one biochemical basis of memory.

is it mRNA being referred to? mRNA does not store memories, it funcrions according to the mechanisms of central dogma, control experiments suggested that the difference was not due to learned behabior

61. Patient HM, with bilateral ablation of his hippocampi, can learn a mirror drawing task. What dichotomy of types of memory does this fact address?

procedural vs declarative

62. Why is a rat's performance in the radial 8-arm maze considered an example of "working memory?"

each time, it must remember which of the arms it has already visited

63. Beta and gamma secretases cut (what?) into (what?) relevant to memory.

amyloid precursor protein into beta amyloid

64. What did Hebb propose that reverberatin circuits were used for?

with excitation only such a loop could hold short term memory

65. What issue in neuroscience was Sperry attempting to address with his notion of emergent properties?

meaningful considerations in the meaning of human life such as free will are impossible to reconcile with a materialist view

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