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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:

Fiona Carr handles manuscripts related to neurodegeneration and other forms of neurological disease.

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.

Fiona Carr

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    BMP ligands act as retrograde signalling molecules to regulate presynaptic development, and regulation of BMP receptors by endocytosis may be an important component of this signalling pathway. Here, the authors show that Abi-mediated macropinocytosis of BMP receptors in Drosophila larva and contributes to neuromuscular development.

    • Najin Kim
    • , Sungdae Kim
    • , Minyeop Nahm
    • , Danielle Kopke
    • , Joohyung Kim
    • , Eunsang Cho
    • , Min-Jung Lee
    • , Mihye Lee
    • , Seung Hyun Kim
    • , Kendal Broadie
    •  &  Seungbok Lee
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Lymphangiogenesis occurs in the context of systemic inflammation and development but has not been reported for the lymphatics that surround the CNS. Here the authors show that in the context of experimental autoimmune encephatlitis, lymphangiogenesis occurs at the cribriform plate, but not the meninges, and contributes to immune cell and antigen drainage.

    • Martin Hsu
    • , Aditya Rayasam
    • , Julie A. Kijak
    • , Yun Hwa Choi
    • , Jeffrey S. Harding
    • , Sarah A. Marcus
    • , William J. Karpus
    • , Matyas Sandor
    •  &  Zsuzsanna Fabry
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Gene editing strategies are typically designed to correct mutant genes, but most neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic. Here the authors describe a strategy to selectively edit the C-terminus of APP and attenuate amyloid-β production, while upregulating neuroprotective α-cleavage.

    • Jichao Sun
    • , Jared Carlson-Stevermer
    • , Utpal Das
    • , Minjie Shen
    • , Marion Delenclos
    • , Amanda M. Snead
    • , So Yeon Koo
    • , Lina Wang
    • , Dianhua Qiao
    • , Jonathan Loi
    • , Andrew J. Petersen
    • , Michael Stockton
    • , Anita Bhattacharyya
    • , Mathew V. Jones
    • , Xinyu Zhao
    • , Pamela J. McLean
    • , Andrew A. Sproul
    • , Krishanu Saha
    •  &  Subhojit Roy
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Previous studies have shown that depletion of microglia at early developmental stages leads to neuronal death. Here the authors use an inducible system to ablate microglia in adulthood, showing that such depletion leads to ataxia-like behavior and neuronal loss, and identifying the inflammatory components that may contribute.

    • Stephen J. Rubino
    • , Lior Mayo
    • , Isabella Wimmer
    • , Victoria Siedler
    • , Florian Brunner
    • , Simon Hametner
    • , Asaf Madi
    • , Amanda Lanser
    • , Thais Moreira
    • , Dustin Donnelly
    • , Laura Cox
    • , Rafael Machado Rezende
    • , Oleg Butovsky
    • , Hans Lassmann
    •  &  Howard L. Weiner
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease 1A (CMT1A) is a peripheral demyelinating disease. Here, the authors demonstrate in a rodent model of CMT1A that Schwann cells have impairments in lipid biosynthesis, and that restoring lipids via diet can reverse the dysmyelinating phenotype in these animals.

    • R. Fledrich
    • , T. Abdelaal
    • , L. Rasch
    • , V. Bansal
    • , V. Schütza
    • , B. Brügger
    • , C. Lüchtenborg
    • , T. Prukop
    • , J. Stenzel
    • , R. U. Rahman
    • , D. Hermes
    • , D. Ewers
    • , W. Möbius
    • , T. Ruhwedel
    • , I. Katona
    • , J. Weis
    • , D. Klein
    • , R. Martini
    • , W. Brück
    • , W. C. Müller
    • , S. Bonn
    • , I. Bechmann
    • , K. A. Nave
    • , R. M. Stassart
    •  &  M. W. Sereda
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Chronic itch affects about 10% of the general population, however current treatments are largely ineffective. Here, the authors show that targeting of inhibitory α2 and α3GABAA receptors reduces itch in mice and in a canine model, suggesting this a potentially useful therapeutic approach.

    • William T. Ralvenius
    • , Elena Neumann
    • , Martina Pagani
    • , Mario A. Acuña
    • , Hendrik Wildner
    • , Dietmar Benke
    • , Nina Fischer
    • , Ana Rostaher
    • , Simon Schwager
    • , Michael Detmar
    • , Katrin Frauenknecht
    • , Adriano Aguzzi
    • , Jed Lee Hubbs
    • , Uwe Rudolph
    • , Claude Favrot
    •  &  Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer

Jamie Horder

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in reproductive and social behavior, but the role of oxytocin-related genes in the human brain remains unclear. Here, the authors map oxytocin pathway gene expression and show that it overlaps with brain regions involved in reward and emotional states.

    • Daniel S. Quintana
    • , Jaroslav Rokicki
    • , Dennis van der Meer
    • , Dag Alnæs
    • , Tobias Kaufmann
    • , Aldo Córdova-Palomera
    • , Ingrid Dieset
    • , Ole A. Andreassen
    •  &  Lars T. Westlye
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It has proven difficult to measure the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, in the human brain. Here, the authors introduce and validate a new method that infers dopamine release based on minute-by-minute fluctuations of the positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand [11C]raclopride.

    • Rachel N. Lippert
    • , Anna Lena Cremer
    • , Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah
    • , Clio Korn
    • , Thomas Jahans-Price
    • , Lauren M. Burgeno
    • , Marc Tittgemeyer
    • , Jens C. Brüning
    • , Mark E. Walton
    •  &  Heiko Backes
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The influence of 'fake news’, spread via social media, has been much discussed in the context of the 2016 US presidential election. Here, the authors use data on 30 million tweets to show how content classified as fake news diffused on Twitter before the election.

    • Alexandre Bovet
    •  &  Hernán A. Makse
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    How are abstract, imperceptible concepts such as ‘freedom’ represented in the brain? Here, the authors use fMRI in people born blind to compare the neural responses for abstract concepts, concrete concepts like ‘rainbow’ which in blind people lack sensory qualities, and concrete concepts sensorily accessible to the blind.

    • Ella Striem-Amit
    • , Xiaoying Wang
    • , Yanchao Bi
    •  &  Alfonso Caramazza
  • Nature Communications | Review Article | open

    Transcranial electrical stimulation techniques, such as tDCS and tACS, are popular tools for neuroscience and clinical therapy, but how low-intensity current might modulate brain activity remains unclear. In this review, the authors review the evidence on mechanisms of transcranial electrical stimulation.

    • Anli Liu
    • , Mihály Vöröslakos
    • , Greg Kronberg
    • , Simon Henin
    • , Matthew R. Krause
    • , Yu Huang
    • , Alexander Opitz
    • , Ashesh Mehta
    • , Christopher C. Pack
    • , Bart Krekelberg
    • , Antal Berényi
    • , Lucas C. Parra
    • , Lucia Melloni
    • , Orrin Devinsky
    •  &  György Buzsáki
  • 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

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

    Midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons are significantly associated with Parkinson’s disease and yet there is no systematic molecular classification of these heterogenous group of cells. Here authors use single cell RNA sequencing of isolated mouse neurons expressing the transcription factor Pitx3 (broad mDA neuronal marker) to identify and characterize seven neuron subgroups divided in two major branches of developing Pitx3-expressing neurons.

    • Katarína Tiklová
    • , Åsa K. Björklund
    • , Laura Lahti
    • , Alessandro Fiorenzano
    • , Sara Nolbrant
    • , Linda Gillberg
    • , Nikolaos Volakakis
    • , Chika Yokota
    • , Markus M. Hilscher
    • , Thomas Hauling
    • , Fredrik Holmström
    • , Eliza Joodmardi
    • , Mats Nilsson
    • , Malin Parmar
    •  &  Thomas Perlmann
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It is unclear how and why axonal mitochondria are kept so small in axons. Authors show here that MFF-mediated fission is required for determining the size of mitochondria both entering and along the axon, and this is critical for mitochondrial calcium uptake capacity, neurotransmitter release properties and axon branching.

    • Tommy L. Lewis Jr
    • , Seok-Kyu Kwon
    • , Annie Lee
    • , Reuben Shaw
    •  &  Franck Polleux
  • 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