Our paper shows how brain chemistry relates to neural responses, and ultimately to how people perceive visual motion. Using MR spectroscopy, we can measure an index of glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that affects brain activity. We showed that the amount of glutamate in a particular part of the brain that processes visual motion (called area MT) is related to the strength of the fMRI response (an index of neural activity)...
Read More
Animals rely on an internal sense of body position and movement to effectively control motor behavior. This sense of proprioception is mediated by diverse populations of mechanosensory neurons distributed throughout the body. Here, we investigate neural coding of leg proprioception in Drosophila, using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of proprioceptive sensory neurons during controlled movements of the fly tibia. We found…
Read More
Stimulus- or context-dependent routing of neural signals through parallel pathways can permit flexible processing of diverse inputs. For example, work in mouse shows that rod photoreceptor signals are routed through several retinal pathways, each specialized for different light levels. This light-level-dependent routing of rod signals has been invoked to explain several human perceptual results, but it has not been tested…
Read More
Darwin famously thought of evolution as a force for creation and improvement. Evolution, in his eyes, was synonymous with natural selection and survival of the fittest – a process that optimizes life to thrive in its environment and produce greater numbers of offspring. A century later, however, the great population geneticist Motoo Kimura challenged this view with his ‘neutral theory’…
Read More
Membrane-bound O-acyltransferases (MBOATs) are a superfamily of integral transmembrane enzymes that are found in all kingdoms of life1. In bacteria, MBOATs modify protective cell-surface polymers. In vertebrates, some MBOAT enzymes—such as acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase and diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1—are responsible for lipid biosynthesis or phospholipid remodelling2,3. Other MBOATs, including porcupine, hedgehog acyltransferase and ghrelin acyltransferase, catalyse essential lipid modifications of secreted proteins…
Read More
CD4+ T helper (Th) cells play a central role in orchestrating protective immunity but also in autoimmunity. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a human autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by the infiltration of inflammatory lymphocytes and myeloid cells into the brain and spinal cord, leading to demyelination, axonal damage, and progressive loss of motor functions. The release of…
Read More
Bacteria causing chronic infections are generally observed living in cell aggregates suspended in polymer-rich host secretions, and bacterial phenotypes induced by aggregated growth may be key factors in chronic infection pathogenesis. Bacterial aggregation is commonly thought of as a consequence of biofilm formation; however the mechanisms producing aggregation in vivo remain unclear. Here we show that polymers that are abundant…
Read More
Diabetes is a major public health concern that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and is a leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure.  The mission of the Morton laboratory is to understand the role of the brain in the control of blood sugars and determine how defects in this system contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes.  Specifically, our laboratory, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Schwartz at the University of Washington (UW), examines how the brain senses and responds to...
Read More
The lack of new antibiotics is among the most critical challenges facing medicine. The problem is particularly acute for Gram-negative bacteria. An unconventional antibiotic strategy is to target bacterial nutrition and metabolism. The metal gallium can disrupt bacterial iron metabolism because it substitutes for iron when taken up by bacteria. We investigated the antibiotic activity of gallium ex vivo, in…
Read More

IL-6: A Cytokine at the Crossroads of Autoimmunity

IL-6 is implicated in the development and progression of autoimmune diseases in part by influencing CD4 T cell lineage and regulation. Elevated IL-6 levels drive inflammation in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, some of which are also characterized by enhanced T cell responses to IL-6. Notably, the impact of IL-6 on inflammation is contextual in nature and dependent on…
Read More