Table of contents

cover image


Troublesome variability in mouse studies p1075


We urge greater awareness of the potential genetic and environmental confounds involved in designing and interpreting studies with mice, and encourage the accurate reporting of the study's design.


News and Views

Be careful what you train for pp1077 - 1079

Wolfram Tetzlaff, Karim Fouad & Brian Kwon


No effective therapeutic interventions exist for severe spinal cord injury. A report in this issue shows that rats can recover substantial 'hand' function after complete lesion of the cervical dorsal corticospinal tract, if treated with a combination of specific reaching rehabilitation exercises and chondroitinase injections to enhance axonal sprouting.

See also: Article by García-Alías et al.

Wnts blow on NeuroD1 to promote adult neuron production and diversity pp1079 - 1081

Pierre Vanderhaeghen


NeuroD1 is well known for its role in development. In this issue, two papers collectively show that the Wnt pathway directly activates the transcription factor NeuroD1 to regulate adult neurogenesis and, potentially, neuron diversity.

See also: Brief Communication by Gao et al. | Article by Kuwabara et al.

Get stoned in GABAergic synapses pp1081 - 1083

Ken Mackie & István Katona


The study by Ozaita and colleagues in this issue identifies a function of CB1 cannabinoid receptors—THC-induced amnesia—and reveals the surprising role of GABAergic synapses in mediating this phenomenon.

See also: Article by Puighermanal et al.

Recognizing Grandmother pp1083 - 1085

Bharathi Jagadeesh


Using fMRI to probe face cells in the monkey temporal lobe, a study shows that these face-responsive cells appear to be feature detectors, but only work this way in the holistic construct of a face.

See also: Article by Freiwald et al.

Reconnecting injured nerves p1085

Min Cho


See also: Article by Alto et al.


Brief Communications

Midline crossing and Slit responsiveness of commissural axons require USP33 pp1087 - 1089

Junichi Yuasa-Kawada, Mariko Kinoshita-Kawada, Guan Wu, Yi Rao & Jane Y Wu


This study implicates the proteosome degradation machinery in controlling axon guidance by showing that the deubiquiting enzyme USP33 is essential for controlling Slit/Robo-mediated commissural axonal guidance.

Neurod1 is essential for the survival and maturation of adult-born neurons pp1090 - 1092

Zhengliang Gao, Kerstin Ure, Jessica L Ables, Diane C Lagace, Klaus-Armin Nave, Sandra Goebbels, Amelia J Eisch & Jenny Hsieh


This study uses inducible ablation of NeuroD1 from adult neuronal stem cells/progenitors to show that this transcription factor is crucial for the survival and maturation of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus and olfactory bulb.

See also: News and Views by Vanderhaeghen | Article by Kuwabara et al.

L-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels mediate expression of presynaptic LTP in amygdala pp1093 - 1095

Elodie Fourcaudot, Frederic Gambino, Guillaume Casassus, Bernard Poulain, Yann Humeau & Andreas Lüthi


Here, the authors describe the presynaptic mechanism for the induction of cortico-amygdala LTP that involves presynaptic L-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels in the lateral amygdala.



Wnt-mediated activation of NeuroD1 and retro-elements during adult neurogenesis pp1097 - 1105

Tomoko Kuwabara, Jenny Hsieh, Alysson Muotri, Gene Yeo, Masaki Warashina, Dieter Chichung Lie, Lynne Moore, Kinichi Nakashima, Makoto Asashima & Fred H Gage


This study shows that adult neurogenesis requires canonical Wnt signaling to trigger transcription of pro-neural NeuroD1. Wnt signaling activates beta-catenin, which in complex with TCF/LEF displaces the repressor Sox2 from a previously unknown combined Sox/LEF element in the Neurod1 promoter. Similar Sox/LEF elements activated by Wnt signaling were found in LINE-1 retrotransposons.

See also: News and Views by Vanderhaeghen | Brief Communication by Gao et al.

Chemotropic guidance facilitates axonal regeneration and synapse formation after spinal cord injury pp1106 - 1113

Laura Taylor Alto, Leif A Havton, James M Conner, Edmund R Hollis II, Armin Blesch & Mark H Tuszynski


The authors report a successfully targeted reinnervation of hindlimb sensory fibers projection into the CNS following spinal cord injury in rats. Cervical level 1 lesions followed by expression of the neurotrophin NT-3 in the appropriate brainstem target led to proper targeting of regenerating axons.

See also: News and Views by Cho

Kinetic basis of partial agonism at NMDA receptors pp1114 - 1120

Cassandra L Kussius & Gabriela K Popescu


The authors propose a mechanism of partial agonism, showing that partial agonists of both GluN1 and GluN2 NMDA receptor subunits have similar effects on the NMDA receptor activation reaction and they increase the height of all energy barriers during NMDA receptor activation. This contrasts with the localized effects observed for pentameric ligand-gated channels.

Cholinergic modulation of multivesicular release regulates striatal synaptic potency and integration pp1121 - 1128

Michael J Higley, Gilberto J Soler-Llavina & Bernardo L Sabatini


In the striatum, acetylcholine modulates glutamate release via muscarinic receptors. The authors examine individual synapses in rat striatum and find that glutamatergic afferents show multivesicular release and low postsynpatic receptor saturation. Acetylcholine decreases both the probability of release and the amount of glutamate in the cleft, thereby suppressing the activation of nonlinearities in dendrites.

Rapamycin activation of 4E-BP prevents parkinsonian dopaminergic neuron loss pp1129 - 1135

Luke S Tain, Heather Mortiboys, Ran N Tao, Elena Ziviani, Oliver Bandmann & Alexander J Whitworth


Here, Tain et al. describe the genetic interaction between 4E-BP, an inhibitor of translation, with Parkinson's disease–associated park and Pink1 in Drosophila, where the manipulation of 4E-BP reduced the pathologic phenotypes, including degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, in park and Pink1 mutant flies.

Origins of correlated activity in an olfactory circuit pp1136 - 1144

Hokto Kazama & Rachel I Wilson


In the Drosophila antennal lobe, there are several projection neurons (PNs) that are postsynaptic to each glomerulus. Here, the authors report that activity in these 'sister' PNs is correlated at a fine temporal scale. The predominant source of correlated activity is shared input from olfactory receptor neurons, with a smaller contribution from reciprocal PN-PN connections.

Chondroitinase ABC treatment opens a window of opportunity for task-specific rehabilitation pp1145 - 1151

Guillermo García-Alías, Stanley Barkhuysen, Miranda Buckle & James W Fawcett


Degradation of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans by chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) in the adult or injured rodent nervous system is known to promote local structural plasticity; however, this alone does not enable much functional recovery after a spinal cord injury. In this study, the authors coupled ChABC treatment with specific motor exercises, which resulted in substantial recovery of injured rats' grasping abilities.

See also: News and Views by Tetzlaff et al.

Cannabinoid modulation of hippocampal long-term memory is mediated by mTOR signaling pp1152 - 1158

Emma Puighermanal, Giovanni Marsicano, Arnau Busquets-Garcia, Beat Lutz, Rafael Maldonado & Andrés Ozaita


Cannabis can impair memory function. This study shows that, in mice, the active component of cannabis, via CB1 receptors on GABA interneurons and a mechanism involving NMDA receptors, activates the mTOR pathway and protein synthesis. This transient activation impairs mice's performance in a memory test.

See also: News and Views by Mackie & Katona

High-sensitivity rod photoreceptor input to the blue-yellow color opponent pathway in macaque retina pp1159 - 1164

Greg D Field, Martin Greschner, Jeffrey L Gauthier, Carolina Rangel, Jonathon Shlens, Alexander Sher, David W Marshak, Alan M Litke & E J Chichilnisky


It has been thought that blue-yellow color opponent cells in the primate retina receive little input from rods. Here, the authors report that rod and cone signals are multiplexed in blue-yellow cells and that this may be the source of the blue hue bias in night vision.

Change detection by thalamic reticular neurons pp1165 - 1170

Xiong-Jie Yu, Xin-Xiu Xu, Shigang He & Jufang He


This paper shows that neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) respond strongly to unexpected sounds and convey this information to the auditory thalamus, modulating the responses of medial geniculate body (MGB) neurons in complex ways. Unexpectedly, visual stimuli via the TRN also modulated the 'auditory' MGB, suggesting a new site of cross-modal sensory integration.

Elimination of climbing fiber instructive signals during motor learning pp1171 - 1179

Michael C Ke, Cong C Guo & Jennifer L Raymond


Climbing fiber input to the cerebellum is thought to control the induction of motor learning. Here, the authors use a new behavioral training procedure in which climbing fiber signals are eliminated, but learning still occurs. This suggests that other neural signals, possibly Purkinje cell simple spike activity, are sufficient to induce motor learning.

Stress, genotype and norepinephrine in the prediction of mouse behavior using reinforcement learning pp1180 - 1186

Gediminas Luksys, Wulfram Gerstner & Carmen Sandi


Individual performance during learning is known to be affected by stress and motivation, as well as by genetic predispositions that influence sensitivity to these factors. Here, the authors find that a reinforcement-learning model can provide an integrative framework for predicting the influence of these factors on mouse learning behavior.

A face feature space in the macaque temporal lobe pp1187 - 1196

Winrich A Freiwald, Doris Y Tsao & Margaret S Livingstone


Cells in a primate face area are sensitive to both specific face parts and the presence of the whole, upright face reports an electrophysiology study in monkeys. Cells in the middle face patch detected distinct constellations of face parts, but their tuning amplitude was modulated by the presence of a whole, upright face.

See also: News and Views by Jagadeesh



Genetic address book for retinal cell types pp1197 - 1204

Sandra Siegert, Brigitte Gross Scherf, Karina Del Punta, Nick Didkovsky, Nathaniel Heintz & Botond Roska


Selective targeting of specific neuronal populations, for genetic or other manipulations, is crucial to much of neuroscience. The authors screened 536 BAC transgenic mouse lines from the GENSAT collection for specific reporter expression in the retina. Here, they describe several mouse lines selectively targeting different retinal cell types. The full dataset is accessible at