Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

Martinsried, Germany

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

Martinsried, Germany

The Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology is a research institute of the Max Planck Society located in Martinsried, a suburb of Munich in Germany. Research centers on the basic mechanisms and functions of the developing and adult nervous system. Main focus areas include the mechanisms of information processing and storage. It is one of 80 institute in the Max Planck Society . Wikipedia.

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Borst A.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Euler T.,University of Tübingen
Neuron | Year: 2011

Motion vision provides essential cues for navigation and course control as well as for mate, prey, or predator detection. Consequently, neurons responding to visual motion in a direction-selective way are found in almost all species that see. However, directional information is not explicitly encoded at the level of a single photoreceptor. Rather, it has to be computed from the spatio-temporal excitation level of at least two photoreceptors. How this computation is done and how this computation is implemented in terms of neural circuitry and membrane biophysics have remained the focus of intense research over many decades. Here, we review recent progress made in this area with an emphasis on insects and the vertebrate retina. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Levelt C.N.,Institute of Visual Arts | Hubener M.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Annual Review of Neuroscience | Year: 2012

In many regions of the developing brain, neuronal circuits undergo defined phases of enhanced plasticity, termed critical periods.Work in the rodent visual cortex has led to important insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the timing of the critical period. Although there is little doubt that the maturation of specific inhibitory circuits plays a key role in the opening of the critical period in the visual cortex, it is less clear what puts an end to it. In this review, we describe the established mechanisms and point out where more experimental work is needed. We also show that plasticity in the visual cortex is present well before, and long after, the peak of the critical period. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Berger-Muller S.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Molecular neurobiology | Year: 2011

The Flamingo/Celsr seven-transmembrane cadherins represent a conserved subgroup of the cadherin superfamily involved in multiple aspects of development. In the developing nervous system, Fmi/Celsr control axonal blueprint and dendritic morphogenesis from invertebrates to mammals. As expected from their molecular structure, seven-transmembrane cadherins can induce cell-cell homophilic interactions but also intracellular signaling. Fmi/Celsr is known to regulate planar cell polarity (PCP) through interactions with PCP proteins. In the nervous system, Fmi/Celsr can function in collaboration with or independently of other PCP genes. Here, we focus on recent studies which show that seven-transmembrane cadherins use distinct molecular mechanisms to achieve diverse functions in the development of the nervous system.


Dudanova I.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Klein R.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Trends in Neurosciences | Year: 2013

Growing axons are exposed to various guidance cues en route to their targets. Although many guidance molecules have been identified and their effects on axon behavior extensively studied, how axons react to combinations of signals remains largely unexplored. We review recent studies investigating the combined actions of guidance cues present at the same choice points. Two main scenarios are emerging from these studies: parallel signaling and crosstalk between guidance systems. In the first case, cues act in an additive manner, whereas in the second case the outcome is non-additive and differs from the sum of individual effects, suggesting more complex signal integration in the growth cone. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions are beginning to be unraveled. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Aron L.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Klein R.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Trends in Neurosciences | Year: 2011

No therapy exists to slow down or prevent Parkinson's disease (PD), a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) emerged as promising disease-modifying agents in PD and are currently under clinical development. We argue that efforts in three research areas must converge to harness the full therapeutic power of NTFs. First, the physiological roles of NTFs in aging dopaminergic neurons must be comprehensively understood. Second, the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective, neurorestorative and stimulatory effects of NTFs on diseased neurons need to be defined. Third, improved brain delivery of NTFs and new ways to stimulate NTF signaling are required to achieve clinical benefits. In this review, we discuss progress in these areas and highlight emerging concepts in NTF biology and therapy. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Borst A.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Understanding how the brain controls behaviour is undisputedly one of the grand goals of neuroscience research, and the pursuit of this goal has a long tradition in insect neuroscience. However, appropriate techniques were lacking for a long time. Recent advances in genetic and recording techniques now allow the participation of identified neurons in the execution of specific behaviours to be interrogated. By focusing on fly visual course control, I highlight what has been learned about the neuronal circuit modules that control visual guidance in Drosophila melanogaster through the use of these techniques. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Borst A.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Helmstaedter M.,Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Nature Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Motion-sensitive neurons have long been studied in both the mammalian retina and the insect optic lobe, yet striking similarities have become obvious only recently. Detailed studies at the circuit level revealed that, in both systems, (i) motion information is extracted from primary visual information in parallel ON and OFF pathways; (ii) in each pathway, the process of elementary motion detection involves the correlation of signals with different temporal dynamics; and (iii) primary motion information from both pathways converges at the next synapse, resulting in four groups of ON-OFF neurons, selective for the four cardinal directions. Given that the last common ancestor of insects and mammals lived about 550 million years ago, this general strategy seems to be a robust solution for how to compute the direction of visual motion with neural hardware. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Hubener M.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Bonhoeffer T.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Cell | Year: 2014

Neuronal plasticity in the brain is greatly enhanced during critical periods early in life and was long thought to be rather limited thereafter. Studies in primary sensory areas of the neocortex have revealed a substantial degree of plasticity in the mature brain, too. Often, plasticity in the adult neocortex lies dormant but can be reactivated by modifications of sensory input or sensory-motor interactions, which alter the level and pattern of activity in cortical circuits. Such interventions, potentially in combination with drugs targeting molecular brakes on plasticity present in the adult brain, might help recovery of function in the injured or diseased brain. ©2014 Elsevier Inc.


Helmstaedter M.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Nature Methods | Year: 2013

Neuronal networks are high-dimensional graphs that are packed into three-dimensional nervous tissue at extremely high density. Comprehensively mapping these networks is therefore a major challenge. Although recent developments in volume electron microscopy imaging have made data acquisition feasible for circuits comprising a few hundreds to a few thousands of neurons, data analysis is massively lagging behind. The aim of this perspective is to summarize and quantify the challenges for data analysis in cellular-resolution connectomics and describe current solutions involving online crowd-sourcing and machine-learning approaches. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Baier H.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2013

Synaptic connections between neurons form the basis for perception and behavior. Synapses are often clustered in space, forming stereotyped layers. In the retina and optic tectum, multiple such synaptic laminae are stacked on top of each other, giving rise to stratified neuropil regions in which each layer combines synapses responsive to a particular sensory feature. Recently, several cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of multilaminar arrays of synapses have been discovered. These mechanisms include neurite guidance and cell-cell recognition. Molecules of the Slit, Semaphorin, Netrin, and Hedgehog families, binding to their matching receptors, bring axons and dendrites into spatial register. These guidance cues may diffuse over short distances or bind to sheets of extracellular matrix, thus conditioning the local extracellular milieu, or are presented on the surface of cells bordering the future neuropil. In addition, mutual recognition of axons and dendrites through adhesion molecules with immunoglobulin domains ensures cell type-specific connections within a given layer. Thus, an elaborate genetic program assembles the parallel processing channels that underlie visual perception. © 2013 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

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