Dr. Takaichi Fukuda above (front without lab coat) with medical students.
His winning cover was featured in Volume 340 on 6 January 2017 along with the open access article, “Structural organization of the dendritic reticulum linked by gap junctions in layer 4 of the visual cortex.” It successfully captured the three-dimensional network of gap junction-coupled dendrites. More specifically, it was created using correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) to identify connexin 36-labeled gap junctions. Competition jury members commended Dr. Fukuda for using a new concept and producing such a beautiful image.
Dr. Fukuda kindly elaborated on the research behind his cover image:
“The emergent structure contains many novel findings that are closely related to the critical issues in cortical functions, such as columnar organization, broad tuning in inhibitory neurons and thalamocortical feedforward regulation. The gap junction-coupled nets of dendrites will require us to change the way we think about the structure of the brain by adding a once-dismissed reticular nature to the brain architecture as far as its regulatory GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) system is concerned.”
He also added, “The existence of neuronal gap junctions has been well established in many brain regions, but their precise positions in actual neuronal circuits have been veiled due to the difficulty in detecting unambiguous profiles of individual gap junctions at both light and electron microscopic levels. Thus, physiological studies on neuronal gap junctions still require many assumptions about structures, especially at the network level, and it is still uncertain how gap junctions influence brain activities in vivo.”
IBRO and Elsevier have been delighted to recognize Dr. Fukuda’s work in this cover competition and look forward to his future research discoveries.