nerve centre

noun
  1. a group of nerve cells associated with a specific function
  2. a principal source of control over any complex activityWall Street is the financial nerve centre of America
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Historical Examples of nerve centre