Research Briefing

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  • Despite rich behavioral evidence, it is unclear how the brain expands its behavior repertoire. By building theoretical models with a deep reinforcement learning algorithm, I show that the brain composes a behavior to solve a novel task by combining previously acquired skills and augmenting their variability.

    Research Briefing
  • Although axonal GABAA receptors are thought to cause presynaptic inhibition, we show that instead they often facilitate sodium channel activation at nodes of myelinated axons. This facilitation determines which branches of sensory axons conduct action potentials to motor neurons, enabling computation at the level of the node to regulate sensory feedback.

    Research Briefing
  • Frontal cortex activity contains a mixture of signals for different behavioral and cognitive processes. Analysis of 20,000 frontal cortical neurons during a tactile decision-making task revealed functional clusters encoding specific behavioral variables. By manipulating the inputs to frontal cortex, we attributed the origin of their activities to inputs from the thalamus.

    Research Briefing
  • We studied how the sex of human experimenters affected mouse behaviors and brain functions under normal conditions and in the context of ketamine administration. Identifying such unknown unknowns was critical to understanding how, specifically and quantitatively, they affected experimental outcomes, which led to fresh insight into ketamine’s mechanism as an antidepressant drug.

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  • The language network in the brain shows similar properties across 45 languages spanning 12 language ‘families’. The language areas are lateralized to the left hemisphere, selective for language, and strongly functionally inter-connected. Variability among speakers of different languages is similar to the variability that has been reported among English speakers.

    Research Briefing
  • We report light-gated channels in a fungus-like protist that are highly selective for K+ over Na+. These microbial rhodopsin channels, named kalium channelrhodopsins, enable robust inhibition of mouse cortical neurons with millisecond precision. In addition, kalium channelrhodopsins reveal a previously unknown potassium selectivity mechanism.

    Research Briefing
  • The extent to which neurogenesis occurs in adult primates is still controversial. Single-cell RNA sequencing, immunofluorescence staining, and ex vivo neurosphere culture experiments were performed using the adult macaque hippocampus. The results reveal robust adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the primate hippocampus.

    Research Briefing
  • Myelin, iron, and calcium are major constituents of brain tissue with magnetic properties that can be detected non-invasively using MRI. Using quantitative susceptibility mapping, we estimated the magnetic susceptibility of brain structures in 35,273 participants, creating a new resource to identify novel, non-invasive markers of brain health.

    Research Briefing
  • Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area bidirectionally regulate the activity of serotonin neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Low-strength activity causes inhibition via dopamine receptor D2, whereas high- strength activity causes activation via dopamine receptor D1, and this circuit contributes to anorexia nervosa-like behaviors in mice.

    Research Briefing
  • Activity-regulated myelination adaptively tunes neural circuit function in health. In rodent models of generalized epilepsy, recurrent seizures aberrantly increase myelination specifically within the seizure circuit. Blocking this seizure-induced myelination abrogates the progressive increase in seizure burden and ictal hypersynchrony that occurs in mice with intact activity-regulated myelination, indicating that maladaptive myelination can contribute to disease progression in epilepsy.

    Research Briefing
  • An efficient tool for neurite tracing has been developed that reconstructed the complete axons of 6,357 individual projection neurons in the mouse prefrontal cortex (PFC). The resulting single-neuron projectome analysis revealed comprehensive PFC neuron subtypes, topographic organization of PFC axon projections, modular structure within the PFC and correspondence with single-cell transcriptomes.

    Research Briefing