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Volume 11 Issue 10, October 2008

How important is ongoing neurogenesis to the function of the adult brain? Imayoshi and colleagues show that ongoing neurogenesis has critical, yet distinct, roles in both the olfactory bulb and hippocampus. The cover depicts a coronal section through the olfactory bulb.

(pp 1124 and 1153)


  • The contribution of private philanthropy to research has been growing. Although these large infusions of money can galvanize research, private and public funds now increasingly seem to support similar projects. Caution is warranted to prevent funding for specific topics from skewing research to the detriment of other fields.



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Book Review

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News & Views

  • The visual and vestibular systems encode different, but complementary, aspects of self motion. A study in this issue sheds light on how the brain combines cues from these disparate sources, which are encoded by single neurons in the monkey extrastriate visual cortex, to support the perception of heading direction.

    • Sharath Bennur
    • Joshua I Gold
    News & Views
  • The transcription factor FoxP1 is important for the establishment of motor neuron diversification and connectivity. New studies indicate that it acts as an accessory factor for the transcriptional output of the Hox transcription factor network.

    • Silvia Arber
    News & Views
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  • This perspective article proposes a general law (Bouma law), which states that a visual object is crowded (and therefore cannot be perceived) when spacing between multiple objects is less than a critical spacing value. Crucially, this value is independent of the object.

    • Denis G Pelli
    • Katharine A Tillman
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Brief Communication

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  • How important is ongoing neurogenesis to the function of the adult brain? Using genetic labeling and ablation methods in mice, Imayoshi and colleagues show that ongoing neurogenesis is required for maintenance of the olfactory bulb granule neuron population. In the hippocampus, blocking neurogenesis resulted in impaired contextual and spatial memory.

    • Itaru Imayoshi
    • Masayuki Sakamoto
    • Ryoichiro Kageyama
  • Following a retinal lesion, it is known that extensive topographical remapping occurs in visual cortex. To examine the dynamics of this plasticity, Keck et al. combined chronic intrinsic and two-photon imaging to follow both the functional and structural modifications of the affected cortical region. They observed close to a complete turnover of spines on the functionally relevant cells, suggesting that a massive rewiring had occurred, producing new circuits.

    • Tara Keck
    • Thomas D Mrsic-Flogel
    • Mark Hübener
  • Employing molecular genetic analysis of a G protein–coupled receptor and its cognate ligands, Ringstad and Horvitz describe a neuropeptide pathway that modulates egg-laying behavior in C. elegans. This signaling pathway is shown to act in a collaborative fashion with cholinergic signaling to inhibit this behavior.

    • Niels Ringstad
    • H Robert Horvitz
  • Recording from Kenyon cells in moths, the authors investigated the neural representations of odors that become associated with rewards through learning. They find that the spikes representing the odor do not coincide with reinforcement, suggesting that Hebbian spike timing dependent plasticity alone cannot underlie this learning.

    • Iori Ito
    • Rose Chik-ying Ong
    • Mark Stopfer
  • This study presents a trial-by-trial analysis of responses of Purkinje cells of the cerebellum in awake-behaving monkeys as they carry out a simple motor learning task. The results show that the presence of a complex spike on one learning trial is linked to a depression of simple-spike responses on a subsequent trial when behavioral learning takes place.

    • Javier F Medina
    • Stephen G Lisberger
  • Primary visual cortex (V1) activation in humans is attenuated during perceptual suppression, but recordings of single neurons in monkey V1 show little suppression. The authors resolve this apparent conflict, finding that perceptual suppression in monkeys is associated with strong suppression of population level activation, but only weak suppression of single neuron activity.

    • Alexander Maier
    • Melanie Wilke
    • David A Leopold
  • Observers can combine multiple sensory cues to achieve greater perceptual sensitivity, but little is known about the underlying neuronal mechanisms. Gu and colleagues found neurons in the dorsal medial superior temporal area of the macaque that had responses that were consistent with the signals expected to result from cue combination.

    • Yong Gu
    • Dora E Angelaki
    • Gregory C DeAngelis
  • Visual sensitivity is degraded while the eyes are moving. This study now finds that sensitivity for some kinds of visual stimuli is actually improved during smooth pursuit eye movements. These sensitivity increases are likely to originate from the parvocellular retino-thalamic system.

    • Alexander C Schütz
    • Doris I Braun
    • Karl R Gegenfurtner
  • Speech production relies on both somatosensory input from the vocal tract and auditory input. Nasir and Ostry now show that in deaf individuals, somatosensory input alone can support speech motor learning.

    • Sazzad M Nasir
    • David J Ostry
  • The precuneus and the dorsal premotor cortex track changes in the positions of surrounding objects when observers move around in a virtual environment, finds this fMRI study. Importantly, activation in the dorsal premotor cortex was modulated by subjects making a motor response to indicate object positions, while the precuneus tracked positions regardless of response type.

    • Thomas Wolbers
    • Mary Hegarty
    • Jack M Loomis
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