There was once an old Chinese man working on a hill with a boy. On the plain, near the sea, rested the village, the inhabitants eagerly engaged in their daily activities. Suddenly, the old man noticed that a huge wave, far distant in the sea, was approaching the shore endangering all. The only safe place was the hill. So, he began waving his hands and screaming aloud, to no avail. The villagers were too busy with their own work and paid little heed to the old man, who was considered a bit eccentric. But soon flames were on the hill, the wheat fields ablaze. The old man had resorted to this ultimate step to alert his fellow citizens. Now, they all went running towards him, angry about their burning crop, and in the process, avoided the imminent danger. For some mysterious reason, my mind focused on this story prior to the Symposium on the Role of DNA, which took place in Ravello, Italy at the end of May 1985. Having made a call for people to meet and reflect for a few days, the analogy began to take shape. Ravello was indeed a hill, magically overlooking the sea from medieval quarters.
True, its countryside is filled with vineyards, not wheat fields, but that is an improvement on the story. However, what was the wave? Perhaps, the growing amount of data on cloned brain genes that threatens to engulf neurobiologists.
I. Brain Gene Products.- 1. A Comparative Study of the Diversity of Gene Expression in Brain.- 2. Messenger RNA in the Brain.- 3. Gene Expression in the Mammalian Brain.- 4. Expression of Brain-Specific Proteins.- 5. Messenger RNA is Present in the Axoplasm of Squid Giant Axons.- II. Cloning and Expression of Brain Genes.- 6. Molecular Genetics of Tyrosine Hydroxylase.- 7. Analysis of Synapsin I and G-Substrate Gene Expression by cDNA Cloning and in situ Hybridization Histochemistry.- 8. The Expression of Microtubule Proteins During the Development of the Nervous System.- 9. Regulation of Expression of the Human Proenkephalin Gene in Heterologous Cell Systems.- 10. The Regulation of Proopiomelanocortin Gene Expression by Estrogen in the Rat Hypothalamus.- III. The Molecular Biology of Neurological Diseases.- 11. DNA Analysis of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophies.- 12. Genetic Analysis of the Fragile X-Mental Retardation Syndrome with Polymorphic DNA Markers.- 13. Brain Messenger RNA in Alzheimer's Disease.- 14. The Effect of Trisomy-21 (Down's Syndrome) on Brain Transcription.- IV. Brain DNA.- A. Neuronal Chromatin Structure and DNA Content.- 15. Neuronal Chromatin During Development.- 16. Post-Translational Modifications of Chromosomal Proteins in Neuronal and Glial Nuclei from Developing Rat Brain.- 17. DNA Content in Neurons.- B. Enzymes Related to DNA Metabolism.- 18. Enzymology of DNA Replication and Repair in Brain.- 19. Brain Dnases and their Functional Importance.- 20. Polyadp-Ribose Polymerase and ADP-Ribosylation Reaction.- C. DNA Turnover.- 21. DNA Synthesis and Cell Number Homeostasis in the Brain.- 22. Brain DNA Changes During Learning.- 23. Role of DNA in Brain Information Processing.- V. Special Lecture.- 24. RNA and Learning.- VI. Posters.- 25. Molecular Genetics of the Nerve Cell Adhesion Molecule N-Cam: Evidence for Multiple, Developmentally Regulated, MRNA Species.- 26. The Characterization of Cdnas Encoding Brain-Specific and Ubiquitous MRNA by Hybrid-Selected Translation.- 27. Opioid Peptide Precursors in the Amphibian xenopus Laevis.- 28. Sensitive Hybridization Techniques as Powerful Tools in Molecular Genetics to Identify Brain-Specific Gene Products.- 29. Molecular Cloning and Nucleotide Sequences of cDNA and Genomic DNA for the Rat Brain S-100 Protein.- Author Index.