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From Brain to Behaviour

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. Each editor handles a different area of this research, as described below:

Jamie Horder handles submissions from cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging, as well as research on psychiatric disorders and autism.

Sachin Ranade handles manuscripts related to systems and computational neuroscience.

Jerome Staal handles submissions related to neurodevelopment, plasticity and molecular neuroscience.

Ada Yee handles manuscripts relating to neurophysiology, cellular neurobiology, synaptic circuits.

Jamie Horder

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    People insulate themselves against negative social feedback via self-protective behaviors. Here, the authors show that early adolescents react against immediate social feedback, but adults also consider accumulated past negative evaluations, a function mediated by the rostromedial prefrontal cortex (RMPFC).

    • Leehyun Yoon
    • , Leah H. Somerville
    •  &  Hackjin Kim
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Approaches describing how the brain changes to accomplish cognitive tasks tend to rely on collapsed data. Here, authors present a new approach that maintains high dimensionality and use it to describe individual differences in how brain activity is represented and organized across different cognitive tasks.

    • Manish Saggar
    • , Olaf Sporns
    • , Javier Gonzalez-Castillo
    • , Peter A. Bandettini
    • , Gunnar Carlsson
    • , Gary Glover
    •  &  Allan L. Reiss
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Though transcranial electric stimulation has been used to influence brain activity, it is debated whether neuronal spiking activity is directly affected by commonly-used protocols. Here, the authors quantify the voltage gradients necessary to instantaneously affect neuronal spiking and show that they are higher than commonly-used protocols.

    • Mihály Vöröslakos
    • , Yuichi Takeuchi
    • , Kitti Brinyiczki
    • , Tamás Zombori
    • , Azahara Oliva
    • , Antonio Fernández-Ruiz
    • , Gábor Kozák
    • , Zsigmond Tamás Kincses
    • , Béla Iványi
    • , György Buzsáki
    •  &  Antal Berényi
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Though we are often friends with people similar to ourselves, it is unclear if neural responses to perceptual stimuli are also similar. Here, authors show that the similarity of neural responses evoked by a range of videos was highest for close friends and decreased with increasing social distance.

    • Carolyn Parkinson
    • , Adam M. Kleinbaum
    •  &  Thalia Wheatley
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Trial and error learning requires the brain to generate expectations and match them to outcomes, yet whether this occurs for semantic learning is unclear. Here, authors show that the brain encodes the degree to which new factual information violates expectations, which in turn determines whether information is encoded in long-term memory.

    • Alex Pine
    • , Noa Sadeh
    • , Aya Ben-Yakov
    • , Yadin Dudai
    •  &  Avi Mendelsohn

Sachin Ranade

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Hippocampus is necessary for integrating the context with sensory cues to retrieve memory for unique episodes. Here, the authors show that inhibiting topographically organized projections from hippocampus to the anterior olfactory nucleus independently impairs spatial and temporal odour memory recall.

    • Afif J. Aqrabawi
    •  &  Jun Chul Kim
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Fear memories are overcome only when it is ascertained that fearful responses are not appropriate. Here the authors demonstrate that activity in dopamine neurons is necessary to extinguish fear responses and two distinct dopamine neuron projections exert opposing effects on extinction learning.

    • Ray Luo
    • , Akira Uematsu
    • , Adam Weitemier
    • , Luca Aquili
    • , Jenny Koivumaa
    • , Thomas J. McHugh
    •  &  Joshua P. Johansen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Odor-guided spatial behaviours are difficult to study due to the challenge of controlling chemical concentrations in space and time. Here the authors present a precise odor delivery system to generate a olfactory virtual landscape that engages hippocampal place cells in mice.

    • Brad A. Radvansky
    •  &  Daniel A. Dombeck
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Movements are continually constrained by the current body position and its relation to the surroundings. Here the authors report that the population activity of monkey dorsal premotor cortex neurons dynamically represents the probability distribution of possible reach directions.

    • Joshua I. Glaser
    • , Matthew G. Perich
    • , Pavan Ramkumar
    • , Lee E. Miller
    •  &  Konrad P. Kording
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Fluctuations in mood are known to affect our decisions. Here the authors propose and validate a model of how mood fluctuations arise through a slow integration of positive and negative feedback and report the resulting key changes in brain activity that modulate our decision making.

    • Fabien Vinckier
    • , Lionel Rigoux
    • , Delphine Oudiette
    •  &  Mathias Pessiglione
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Forward models predict and attenuate the sensory feedback of voluntary movement yet their involvement in motor imagery has only been theorized. Here the authors show that motor imagery recruits forward models to elicit sensory attenuation to the same extent as real movements.

    • Konstantina Kilteni
    • , Benjamin Jan Andersson
    • , Christian Houborg
    •  &  H. Henrik Ehrsson

Jerome Staal

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    This study analyzes allelic expression bias in post-mortem brains of healthy individuals and those diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The study shows that the number of imprinted genes is consistent with low estimates, and that allelic bias is independent of psychiatric disease status.

    • Attila Gulyás-Kovács
    • , Ifat Keydar
    • , Eva Xia
    • , Menachem Fromer
    • , Gabriel Hoffman
    • , Douglas Ruderfer
    • , Ravi Sachidanandam
    •  &  Andrew Chess
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    As resident macrophages of the brain, microglia are important for neuroinflammatory responses. This work shows that nuclear factor kappa B regulatory protein A20 is important for microglia activation and regulation during inflammation of the central nervous system.

    • Sofie Voet
    • , Conor Mc Guire
    • , Nora Hagemeyer
    • , Arne Martens
    • , Anna Schroeder
    • , Peter Wieghofer
    • , Carmen Daems
    • , Ori Staszewski
    • , Lieselotte Vande Walle
    • , Marta Joana Costa Jordao
    • , Mozes Sze
    • , Hanna-Kaisa Vikkula
    • , Delphine Demeestere
    • , Griet Van Imschoot
    • , Charlotte L. Scott
    • , Esther Hoste
    • , Amanda Gonçalves
    • , Martin Guilliams
    • , Saskia Lippens
    • , Claude Libert
    • , Roos E. Vandenbroucke
    • , Ki-Wook Kim
    • , Steffen Jung
    • , Zsuzsanna Callaerts-Vegh
    • , Patrick Callaerts
    • , Joris de Wit
    • , Mohamed Lamkanfi
    • , Marco Prinz
    •  &  Geert van Loo
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Direct visualization of microglia-mediated synapse pruning has been lacking. This study shows direct evidence of microglia-synapse interaction where microglia do not necessarily ‘eat’ post-synaptic structure but ‘nibble’ on pre-synaptic terminals, much akin to trogocytosis by lymphocytes.

    • Laetitia Weinhard
    • , Giulia di Bartolomei
    • , Giulia Bolasco
    • , Pedro Machado
    • , Nicole L. Schieber
    • , Urte Neniskyte
    • , Melanie Exiga
    • , Auguste Vadisiute
    • , Angelo Raggioli
    • , Andreas Schertel
    • , Yannick Schwab
    •  &  Cornelius T. Gross
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Alpha-synuclein is associated with neuronal dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease. This study shows that alpha-synuclein interacts with neuronal synaptic vesicles in a calcium-dependent fashion, and this interaction is important for synaptic vesicle clustering.

    • Janin Lautenschläger
    • , Amberley D. Stephens
    • , Giuliana Fusco
    • , Florian Ströhl
    • , Nathan Curry
    • , Maria Zacharopoulou
    • , Claire H. Michel
    • , Romain Laine
    • , Nadezhda Nespovitaya
    • , Marcus Fantham
    • , Dorothea Pinotsi
    • , Wagner Zago
    • , Paul Fraser
    • , Anurag Tandon
    • , Peter St George-Hyslop
    • , Eric Rees
    • , Jonathan J. Phillips
    • , Alfonso De Simone
    • , Clemens F. Kaminski
    •  &  Gabriele S. Kaminski Schierle
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Feeding-relevant vagal signaling occurs between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, but it is unclear if this pathway influences cognitive processes. This study shows that endogenous gastrointestinal derived vagal sensory signaling promotes hippocampal-dependent memory function via a multi-order brainstem–septal pathway.

    • Andrea N. Suarez
    • , Ted M. Hsu
    • , Clarissa M. Liu
    • , Emily E. Noble
    • , Alyssa M. Cortella
    • , Emily M. Nakamoto
    • , Joel D. Hahn
    • , Guillaume de Lartigue
    •  &  Scott E. Kanoski
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Many genes have oscillating gene expression pattern in circadian centers of the brain. This study shows cortical diurnal DNA methylation oscillation in a mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome, and describes corresponding changes in gene expression and chromatin compaction.

    • Rochelle L. Coulson
    • , Dag H. Yasui
    • , Keith W. Dunaway
    • , Benjamin I. Laufer
    • , Annie Vogel Ciernia
    • , Yihui Zhu
    • , Charles E. Mordaunt
    • , Theresa S. Totah
    •  &  Janine M. LaSalle

Ada Yee

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Different stages of sleep, marked by particular electroencephalographic (EEG) signatures, have been linked to memory consolidation, but underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, the authors show that dendritic calcium synchronisation correlates with spindle-rich sleep phases.

    • Julie Seibt
    • , Clément J. Richard
    • , Johanna Sigl-Glöckner
    • , Naoya Takahashi
    • , David I. Kaplan
    • , Guy Doron
    • , Denis de Limoges
    • , Christina Bocklisch
    •  &  Matthew E. Larkum
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Structural remodeling of dendritic spines is thought to be a mechanism of memory storage. Here, the authors look at how spine turnover and clustering predict future learning and memory performance, and see that a genetically modified mouse with enhanced spine turnover has enhanced learning.

    • Adam C. Frank
    • , Shan Huang
    • , Miou Zhou
    • , Amos Gdalyahu
    • , George Kastellakis
    • , Tawnie K. Silva
    • , Elaine Lu
    • , Ximiao Wen
    • , Panayiota Poirazi
    • , Joshua T. Trachtenberg
    •  &  Alcino J. Silva
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Activity-dependent gene expression is thought to involve translocation of Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM) to the nucleus. Here, the authors examine a translocation-deficient mutant of γCaMKII, a Ca2+/CaM shuttle protein, to show that translocation of Ca2+/CaM is required for memory and synaptic plasticity.

    • Samuel M. Cohen
    • , Benjamin Suutari
    • , Xingzhi He
    • , Yang Wang
    • , Sandrine Sanchez
    • , Natasha N. Tirko
    • , Nataniel J. Mandelberg
    • , Caitlin Mullins
    • , Guangjun Zhou
    • , Shuqi Wang
    • , Ilona Kats
    • , Alejandro Salah
    • , Richard W. Tsien
    •  &  Huan Ma
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    M-current is conveyed by voltage-sensitive KCNQ channels, which are enriched in GABAergic neurons and are activated by anticonvulsants such as retigabine. Here the authors show that GABA directly activates KCNQ3, at the residue required for its anticonvulsant activity.

    • Rían W. Manville
    • , Maria Papanikolaou
    •  &  Geoffrey W. Abbott
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Defensive behavioral responses can be triggered by predator-released odors. Here, the authors identified the relevant Pristionchus pacificus-released sulfolipid molecules and dissected the neural circuits underlying C. elegans response to this predator.

    • Zheng Liu
    • , Maro J. Kariya
    • , Christopher D. Chute
    • , Amy K. Pribadi
    • , Sarah G. Leinwand
    • , Ada Tong
    • , Kevin P. Curran
    • , Neelanjan Bose
    • , Frank C. Schroeder
    • , Jagan Srinivasan
    •  &  Sreekanth H. Chalasani
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Serotonin (5-HT) has been suggested to promote waiting through behavioral inhibition. Here, the authors use an active foraging task and optogenetic activation of 5-HT neurons to show that rather than passivity, these neurons enhance persistence in the face of delay.

    • Eran Lottem
    • , Dhruba Banerjee
    • , Pietro Vertechi
    • , Dario Sarra
    • , Matthijs oude Lohuis
    •  &  Zachary F. Mainen