Focus |

From Brain to Behaviour

Fiona Carr: neurological disease.

Jamie Horder: cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry and autism.

Sachin Ranade: systems and computational neuroscience.

Jerome Staal: neurodevelopment, plasticity and molecular neuroscience. 

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage, 'From Brain to Behaviour'. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting neuroscience research published at Nature Communications.

Make sure to check the Editors' Highlights page each month for new featured articles.

How astrocytes influence neuronal plasticity remains unclear, as they are typically considered as modulators of core mechanisms driven by neuronal components. Here, authors show that Long-term depression (LTD) induction in the hippocampus triggers calcium signaling in the astrocyte and enhances SNARE-dependent astrocytic glutamate release, which is then responsible for the activation of postsynaptic NMDA receptors and synaptic depression.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

Synchronised neuronal activity is essential for cortical function, yet mechanistic insights into this process remain limited. Here, authors use a combination of in vivo imaging and targeted whole-cell recordings to demonstrate that Somatostatin neurons, in the superficial layers of the mouse primary visual cortex, exhibit functional heterogeneity and can be classified into two distinct subtypes characterized as either having type I uncorrelated, or type II highly correlated with network activity.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

Mutations in WDR62 are the second most common genetic cause of autosomal recessive primary microcephaly, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying this pathogenesis remain unclear. Here, authors demonstrate that WDR62 depletion leads to neural precursor cell depletion and microcephaly via WDR62-CEP170-KIF2A pathway that promotes cilium disassembly.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

The mechanisms of contextual modulation in direction selective ganglion cells in the retina remain unclear. Here, the authors find that that On-Off direction-selective ganglion cells are differentially sensitive to discontinuities of dark and bright moving edges in the visual environment and, using synapse-specific genetic manipulations with functional measurements, reveal the microcircuits underlying this contextual sensitivity.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

The potential role of TET proteins in adult neurogenesis is unknown. In this study, authors show that TET3 is essentially required for the maintenance of the NSC pool in the adult subventricular zone niche by preventing premature differentiation of NSCs, via direct binding and repression of the paternal transcribed allele of the imprinted gene Snrpn

Article | open | | Nature Communications

Synaptic plasticity ensures functionality during perturbations and enables memory formation. Here, the authors describe homeostatic functional and nano-modular active zone modifications for immediate and long-lasting enhancement of neurotransmitter release, and identify Unc13 as a presynaptic molecular target for homeostatic potentiation and learning.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

In contrast to the extensively studied mechanosensory hair bundle, the cuticular plate is not as well understood. In this study, authors describe the discovery of a hair cell protein called LIM only protein 7, which is localized in the cuticular plate and the cell junction and may play a role in age-related deafness.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

It is unclear if early pathological changes in normal-appearing multiple sclerosis (MS) tissue are reflected by molecular changes in microglia, which might contribute to lesion initiation. Here, authors demonstrate significant intrinsic differences in the human microglial transcriptome between grey and white matter regions, isolated from MS and non-neurological control donors, and show early microglial changes related to MS pathology.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

It is unclear if neuromelanin plays a role in Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis since common laboratory animals lack this pigment. Authors show here that overexpression of human tyrosinase in the substantia nigra of rats resulted in an age-dependent production of human-like neuromelanin within nigral dopaminergic neurons and is associated with a Parkinson’s disease phenotype when allowed to accumulate above a specific threshold.

Article | open | | Nature Communications

Do single neurons require sleep and what is the conserved cellular function of sleep? In this paper, the authors use real-time imaging of chromosomes in individual cells within live zebrafish to show that sleep increases chromosome dynamics, which are necessary to reduce DNA damage that is accumulated during wakefulness.

Article | open | | Nature Communications