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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 and synaptic circuits.

Jamie Horder

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Forgetting is ubiquitous across the animal kingdom, but neuroscience is only beginning to address its mechanisms. This study shows that rats, like humans, actively forget memories that interfere with retrieval, and that this retrieval-induced forgetting requires the prefrontal cortex.

    • Pedro Bekinschtein
    • , Noelia V. Weisstaub
    • , Francisco Gallo
    • , Maria Renner
    •  &  Michael C. Anderson
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Previous work has shown that the thalamic nucleus reuniens (RE) is involved in memory and emotion. Here the authors report that the RE and its inputs from the medial prefrontal cortex are indispensable for the top-down inhibition of fear memories after extinction.

    • Karthik R. Ramanathan
    • , Jingji Jin
    • , Thomas F. Giustino
    • , Martin R. Payne
    •  &  Stephen Maren
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Olfaction, the sense of smell, may have originally evolved to aid navigation in space, but there is no direct evidence of a link between olfaction and navigation in humans. Here the authors show that olfaction and spatial memory abilities are correlated and rely on similar brain regions in humans.

    • Louisa Dahmani
    • , Raihaan M. Patel
    • , Yiling Yang
    • , M. Mallar Chakravarty
    • , Lesley K. Fellows
    •  &  Véronique D. Bohbot
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It is believed that fast “ripple” oscillations in the hippocampus play a role in consolidation, a process by which memory traces are stabilized. Here, the authors show that ripples occuring during non-REM sleep trigger “replay” of brain activity associated with previously experienced stimuli.

    • Hui Zhang
    • , Juergen Fell
    •  &  Nikolai Axmacher
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Attractor dynamics have been discovered in neural circuits, but it is not clear if they exist at the level of whole-brain activity. Here, the authors show that certain brain regions act as nodes in which many activity ‘streams’ converge, regardless of brain state. These regions show distinctive gene expression.

    • Ibai Diez
    •  &  Jorge Sepulcre
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Reverse correlation is a psychophysics technique used to infer sensory filter properties by measuring how changes in stimuli influence behavior. Here, the authors show that reverse correlation is shaped by both sensory and decision-making processes, and validate a method to partition their contributions.

    • Gouki Okazawa
    • , Long Sha
    • , Braden A. Purcell
    •  &  Roozbeh Kiani

Sachin Ranade

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Looming discs are perceived as an innate threat by flies and elicit a survival response. Here, the authors report that flies exhibit either an escape or freezing response depending on their walking speed and identify the involvement of a pair of neurons in mediating the behavior.

    • Ricardo Zacarias
    • , Shigehiro Namiki
    • , Gwyneth M. Card
    • , Maria Luisa Vasconcelos
    •  &  Marta A. Moita
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    There are two subtypes of hippocampal theta oscillations that differ in frequency range, pharmacology, and behavioural correlates. Here, the authors report that activity of OLM interneurons in the ventral hippocampus mediates type 2 theta, associated with increased risk-taking in the presence of predator threat.

    • Sanja Mikulovic
    • , Carlos Ernesto Restrepo
    • , Samer Siwani
    • , Pavol Bauer
    • , Stefano Pupe
    • , Adriano B. L. Tort
    • , Klas Kullander
    •  &  Richardson N. Leão
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Motor cortical neurons enable performance of a wide range of movements. Here, the authors report that dominant population activity patterns, the neural modes, are largely preserved across various tasks, with many displaying consistent temporal dynamics and reliably mapping onto muscle activity.

    • Juan A. Gallego
    • , Matthew G. Perich
    • , Stephanie N. Naufel
    • , Christian Ethier
    • , Sara A. Solla
    •  &  Lee E. Miller
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    In a dynamic environment old evidence could be outdated. Here, the authors investigate the ability of rats to integrate and discount evidence provided by auditory clicks to infer a hidden, dynamic, state of the world and model the consequence of sensory noise to explain the source of errors.

    • Alex T. Piet
    • , Ahmed El Hady
    •  &  Carlos D. Brody
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    In the ventral basal ganglia circuit, the ventral pallidum (VP) receives major inputs from the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and is involved in reward processing. Here, the authors report that, contrary to the accepted model, signals related to the relative value of reward in VP emerge before NAc and are more robust.

    • David Ottenheimer
    • , Jocelyn M. Richard
    •  &  Patricia H. Janak

Jerome Staal

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Cell-to-cell transmission of TDP43 occurs in cell cultures and may contribute to pathological TDP43 propagation in FTLD-TDP. In this study, the authors demonstrate using mouse models that a single intracerebral injection of human brain-derived pathological TDP43 from FTLD-TDP cases initiates the process of seeding and spreading of TDP43 pathology in a spatio-temporal dependent manner in the brain.

    • Sílvia Porta
    • , Yan Xu
    • , Clark R. Restrepo
    • , Linda K. Kwong
    • , Bin Zhang
    • , Hannah J. Brown
    • , Edward B. Lee
    • , John Q. Trojanowski
    •  &  Virginia M.-Y. Lee
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Brain organoid models reported to date lack cells of mesodermal origin, such as microglia. Here, the authors demonstrate that mature microglia-like cells are generated within their cerebral organoid model, providing new avenues for studying human microglia in a three-dimensional brain environment.

    • Paul R. Ormel
    • , Renata Vieira de Sá
    • , Emma J. van Bodegraven
    • , Henk Karst
    • , Oliver Harschnitz
    • , Marjolein A. M. Sneeboer
    • , Lill Eva Johansen
    • , Roland E. van Dijk
    • , Nicky Scheefhals
    • , Amber Berdenis van Berlekom
    • , Eduardo Ribes Martínez
    • , Sandra Kling
    • , Harold D. MacGillavry
    • , Leonard H. van den Berg
    • , René S. Kahn
    • , Elly M. Hol
    • , Lot D. de Witte
    •  &  R. Jeroen Pasterkamp
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Dopaminergic circuits in the nucleus accumbens regulate reward, including social play behavior in adolescent rodents. Here, the authors show that in male but not female rats, dopamine receptors are tagged by complement for microglial phagocytosis, thus mediating changes in social behavior.

    • Ashley M. Kopec
    • , Caroline J. Smith
    • , Nathan R. Ayre
    • , Sean C. Sweat
    •  &  Staci D. Bilbo
  • 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

Ada Yee

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Current optogenetic inhibition methods like light-controlled ion pumps require high-intensity light and disrupt physiological ion gradients. Here, the authors somatically target the anion-conducting opsin GtACR to eliminate spiking in distal axons and improve photocurrents, thus enhancing its utility.

    • Mathias Mahn
    • , Lihi Gibor
    • , Pritish Patil
    • , Katayun Cohen-Kashi Malina
    • , Shir Oring
    • , Yoav Printz
    • , Rivka Levy
    • , Ilan Lampl
    •  &  Ofer Yizhar
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Traditionally, synaptic release latency has been viewed as constant. Here, at parallel fiber-interneuron  synapses, authors see that with sustained release emerges a slow component of increased latencies, which can be simulated with a 2-step model comprised of vesicle docking followed by release.

    • Takafumi Miki
    • , Yukihiro Nakamura
    • , Gerardo Malagon
    • , Erwin Neher
    •  &  Alain Marty
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The SNARE complex enables the fusion of synaptic vesicles with presynaptic membrane via a zippering process that is modulated by the protein complexin, though the precise mechanism remains unclear. Here, the authors used magnetic tweezers to show how complexin prepares a SNARE complex for fusion under mechanical tension.

    • Min Ju Shon
    • , Haesoo Kim
    •  &  Tae-Young Yoon
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Astrocytes have gained increasing attention for their roles in regulating neural circuits via neurotransmitter uptake, K + buffering, and ability to signal via Ca2 + transients. Here, the authors develop a computational modelling environment for astrocytes, akin to the NEURON environment, called ASTRO.

    • Leonid P. Savtchenko
    • , Lucie Bard
    • , Thomas P. Jensen
    • , James P. Reynolds
    • , Igor Kraev
    • , Nikolay Medvedev
    • , Michael G. Stewart
    • , Christian Henneberger
    •  &  Dmitri A. Rusakov
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Patients with schizophrenia show varied response to antipsychotics. Here, the authors demonstrate in patients under antipsychotics treatment that a haplotype associated with lower dysbindin-1 expression correlated with better executive functions, providing further mechanistic support from mouse models.

    • Diego Scheggia
    • , Rosa Mastrogiacomo
    • , Maddalena Mereu
    • , Sara Sannino
    • , Richard E. Straub
    • , Marco Armando
    • , Francesca Managò
    • , Simone Guadagna
    • , Fabrizio Piras
    • , Fengyu Zhang
    • , Joel E. Kleinman
    • , Thomas M. Hyde
    • , Sanne S. Kaalund
    • , Maria Pontillo
    • , Genny Orso
    • , Carlo Caltagirone
    • , Emiliana Borrelli
    • , Maria A. De Luca
    • , Stefano Vicari
    • , Daniel R. Weinberger
    • , Gianfranco Spalletta
    •  &  Francesco Papaleo