News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    Both nucleus accumbens and orexin play clear roles in motivated behavior, but the functions of orexin projections to accumbens are poorly understood. Blomeley et al. show that this pathway, via specific orexin excitation of dopamine D2 receptor–expressing neurons, can inhibit reward seeking and exploratory drive when danger is perceived.

    • Stephen V. Mahler
  • Editorial |

    Neuroscience is not spared from wrestling with gender disparity issues. Progress toward more balanced representation has been slow, but improvement is possible with consistent and focused efforts.

  • News & Views |

    The medial entorhinal cortex contains spatially selective grid cells, whose lattice-like firing patterns are proposed to support path-integration-based navigation. However, direct behavioral evidence has been lacking. Gil et al. disrupt grid cells in a targeted manner, establishing a clear link between grid cell codes and navigation.

    • Caitlin S. Mallory
    •  & Lisa M. Giocomo
  • News & Views |

    New studies provide compelling evidence that the number and length of myelin sheaths generated by oligodendrocytes in the CNS are controlled by local calcium levels, linking axonal activity to individual myelin sheath formation.

    • Robert H. Miller
  • News & Views |

    Super-resolution optical imaging of presynaptic terminals shows that a protein essential to all known forms of neurotransmitter release is clustered in small assemblies that likely correspond to release sites for synaptic vesicle fusion.

    • Timothy A. Ryan
  • Comment |

    As technology advances, whole genome sequencing (WGS) is likely to supersede other genotyping technologies. The rate of this change depends on its relative cost and utility. Variants identified uniquely through WGS may reveal novel biological pathways underlying complex disorders and provide high-resolution insight into when, where, and in which cell type these pathways are affected. Alternatively, cheaper and less computationally intensive approaches may yield equivalent insights. Understanding the role of rare variants in the noncoding gene-regulating genome through pilot WGS projects will be critical to determining which of these two extremes best represents reality. With large cohorts, well-defined risk loci, and a compelling need to understand the underlying biology, psychiatric disorders have a role to play in this preliminary WGS assessment. The Whole Genome Sequencing for Psychiatric Disorders Consortium will integrate data for 18,000 individuals with psychiatric disorders, beginning with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder, along with over 150,000 controls.

    • Stephan J. Sanders
    • , Benjamin M. Neale
    • , Hailiang Huang
    • , Donna M. Werling
    • , Joon-Yong An
    • , Shan Dong
    • , Goncalo Abecasis
    • , P. Alexander Arguello
    • , John Blangero
    • , Michael Boehnke
    • , Mark J. Daly
    • , Kevin Eggan
    • , Daniel H. Geschwind
    • , David C. Glahn
    • , David B. Goldstein
    • , Raquel E. Gur
    • , Robert E. Handsaker
    • , Steven A. McCarroll
    • , Roel A. Ophoff
    • , Aarno Palotie
    • , Carlos N. Pato
    • , Chiara Sabatti
    • , Matthew W. State
    • , A. Jeremy Willsey
    • , Steven E. Hyman
    • , Anjene M. Addington
    • , Thomas Lehner
    •  & Nelson B. Freimer
  • News & Views |

    To decide how much we would like to eat a food item, our brain automatically decomposes it into constituent nutrients. The quantities of the different nutrients are represented in distinct parts of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and then integrated by the medial orbitofrontal cortex to provide a global value judgment.

    • Mathias Pessiglione
    •  & Antonius Wiehler
  • News & Views |

    A leaky blood–brain barrier may contribute to neuropsychiatric disease. Chronic stress is shown to alter blood–brain barrier permeability, allowing an inflammatory response to penetrate the brain. The deficit is mostly around the nucleus accumbens, an area central to motivation. The affected animals exhibit features of depression.

    • E. David Leonardo
    •  & Alex Dranovsky
  • News & Views |

    Sommeijer et al. describe a previously unrecognized role of the thalamus: development of inhibition in the thalamus regulates ocular dominance plasticity, a form of critical-period plasticity regulation previously ascribed solely to the cortex.

    • Brian B. Jeon
    •  & Sandra J. Kuhlman
  • Commentary |

    Moser, Moser and McNaughton provide a historical overview describing how ideas about integration of self-motion cues have shaped our understanding of spatial representation in hippocampal–entorhinal systems, from the discovery of place cells in the 1970s to contemporary studies of spatial coding in intermingled and interacting cell types within complex circuits.

    • Edvard I Moser
    • , May-Britt Moser
    •  & Bruce L McNaughton
  • Q&A |

    The hippocampus serves a critical function in memory, navigation, and cognition. Nature Neuroscience asked John Lisman to lead a group of researchers in a dialog on shared and distinct viewpoints on the hippocampus.

    • John Lisman
    • , György Buzsáki
    • , Howard Eichenbaum
    • , Lynn Nadel
    • , Charan Ranganath
    •  & A David Redish
  • News & Views |

    Physiological and optogenetic dissection of discrete locus coeruleus neuronal populations reveals a functional disassociation, with heterogeneous engagement of locus coeruleus neurons in either fear learning or extinction models.

    • Dong-oh Seo
    •  & Michael R Bruchas
  • News & Views |

    Mouse models have generally failed to recapitulate the dopaminergic neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson's disease. Expressing mutant α-synuclein in a background of elevated dopamine generates mice with nigrostriatal degeneration.

    • Subhojit Roy
  • News & Views |

    The discovery of a circuit from the midcingulate cortex to the posterior insula that is essential for cortical sensitization sheds light on the plasticity mechanisms responsible for the transition from acute to chronic pain.

    • Thomas Nevian
  • Editorial |

    This month, Nature Neuroscience presents a special issue featuring reviews and opinion pieces on the theme of spatial cognition.

  • News & Views |

    Central amygdala directs behavioral responses to emotionally salient stimuli. While most studies have focused on aversive responses, some central amygdala neurons promote feeding and are positively reinforcing.

    • Yoav Livneh
    •  & Mark L Andermann
  • News & Views |

    Upon injury of the developing mouse cerebellum, endogenous repair mechanisms can heal the brain and prevent behavioral motor deficits. At the right time, with the right cues, the brain can repair itself.

    • Baptiste N Jaeger
    •  & Sebastian Jessberger
  • News & Views |

    Inputs to the central complex, the navigation center of Drosophila, are strongly modulated by the visual stimulus history. These history effects carry forward to bias turning behavior when flies choose between two visual stimuli.

    • Mai M Morimoto
    •  & Aman B Saleem
  • News & Views |

    What is the basis for the feeling that someplace or someone is familiar? Molas et al. have identified brain structures involved in signaling familiarity, a necessary element for the expression of preference for novelty.

    • Rebecca D Burwell
    •  & Victoria L Templer
  • News & Views |

    Zika virus infection is associated with birth defects, including microcephaly, but also with disorders of peripheral nerves. Oh et al. use rodent and human cell models to explore how the virus affects the peripheral nervous system.

    • Themasap A. Khan
    •  & Sergiu P. Paşca
  • News & Views |

    Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in C9orf72 gene locus create double jeopardy, first by leading to DNA–RNA R-loops that spawn double-strand breaks and second by the synthesis of dipeptide repeats that hinder DNA repair. This two-pronged mechanism may explain neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

    • Karl Herrup
    • , Kai-Hei Tse
    •  & Hei-Man Chow
  • News & Views |

    A combination of computational modeling, neuroimaging and a causal manipulation of brain activity in humans reveals how the brain represents beliefs about how our choices will affect those of others we interact with.

    • Amit Etkin
  • News & Views |

    Effectiveness of EGFR treatment is impaired through an early adaptive response. TNF–JNK–Axl–ERK signaling contributes to this primary resistance to EGFR inhibition and might serve as novel target to improve EGFR inhibition.

    • Rolf Warta
    •  & Christel Herold-Mende