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Volume 14 Issue 5, May 2011

The authors report that radial glia–like (oRG) progenitor cells are present in the mouse embryonic cortex and that these cells arise from asymmetric divisions of radial glia. In turn, they undergo asymmetric divisions to generate neurons. The cover depicts events occurring during cortical cell migration and development (oRG cells in red, radial glia cells in blue, neurons in green).538555


  • A recent proposal to integrate addiction research portfolios from across the National Institutes of Health into a single institute makes scientific sense, but the implementation will require care.



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News & Views

  • A study this issue by Truccolo et al. analyzing extended recordings of single-neuron activity in human neocortical epilepsy, demonstrates that, even in areas remote from the seizure focus, neuronal firing patterns alter minutes before seizure onset, are heterogeneous during seizures, and change homogeneously at seizure offset.

    • Matthew C Walker
    News & Views
  • Synapse density and patterning must be tightly regulated to ensure proper circuit formation and function. A new report finds that postsynaptic L-type calcium channels control the pattern and differentiation of developing synapses.

    • Justin R Fallon
    News & Views
  • A study now identifies a new progenitor subtype in the developing mouse cortex, similar to the outer radial glia progenitors described previously in human, ferret and other mammals with larger, folded brains.

    • Zoltán Molnár
    • Navneet A Vasistha
    • Fernando Garcia-Moreno
    News & Views
  • The molecular mechanisms of itch, particularly histamine-independent itch, are unclear. Wilson et al. report that TRPA1, an ion channel critical for pain sensation, also functions as an essential component of itch transduction.

    • Bailong Xiao
    • Ardem Patapoutian
    News & Views
  • Goals are represented in prefrontal cortex and modulate sensory processing in visual cortex. A new study combines TMS, fMRI and EEG to understand how feedback improves retention of behaviorally relevant visual information.

    • Sander Nieuwenhuis
    • Tobias H Donner
    News & Views
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Brief Communication

  • This study uses subjects with newly removed congenital occlusions to demonstrate that object matching between touch and vision is not innate. Formerly blind subjects, when they had their sight restored, were initially unable to visually match an object to a sample they had previously touched, but rapidly developed such cross-modal matching.

    • Richard Held
    • Yuri Ostrovsky
    • Pawan Sinha
    Brief Communication
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  • The authors report that radial glia–like (oRG) progenitor cells are present in the mouse embryonic cortex and that these cells arise from asymmetric divisions of radial glia. In turn, they undergo asymmetric divisions to generate neurons.

    • Xiaoqun Wang
    • Jin-Wu Tsai
    • Arnold R Kriegstein
  • Developing skeletal muscle fibers are intrinsically pre-patterned prior to motor neuron innervation. Chen and colleagues show that a functional skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR) is required for muscle pre-patterning during neuromuscular junction development. DHPR is an L-type calcium channel and its regulation of muscle pre-patterning requires calcium influx.

    • Fujun Chen
    • Yun Liu
    • Weichun Lin
  • People with nonsyndromic congenital retinal nonattachment (NCRNA) are blind from birth. The authors show that NCRNA is caused by a deletion spanning a remote cis regulatory element upstream from ATOH7 (Math5), a transcription factor gene required for retinal development. The deleted region is a conserved secondary transcriptional enhancer of ATOH7.

    • Noor M Ghiasvand
    • Dellaney D Rudolph
    • Tom Glaser
  • Chen and colleagues show that visual deprivation drives structural remodeling of the dendritic branch tips of cortical layer 2/3 interneurons in an input-specific manner. Neighboring pyramidal cells show a corresponding loss of inhibitory inputs. This decreased inhibition seems to be permissive for the subsequent addition of new synapse-bearing branch tips.

    • Jerry L Chen
    • Walter C Lin
    • Elly Nedivi
  • This study presents a new assay for investigating alcohol reward in Drosophila. Flies learned to associate cues with ethanol intoxication and developed a long-lasting attraction for the ethanol-paired cue. Dopamine neurons were necessary for expression of this conditioned preference. Mutations in a regulator of Notch signaling disrupted the formation of this memory.

    • Karla R Kaun
    • Reza Azanchi
    • Ulrike Heberlein
  • Brief and synchronous inter-ictal events can occur between seizures. Using human tissue samples and electroencephalography, this study shows that the transition from pre-ictal discharge to ictal discharge involves distinct temporal and spatial characteristics as well as glutamatergic mechanisms.

    • Gilles Huberfeld
    • Liset Menendez de la Prida
    • Richard Miles
  • Epileptic seizures are traditionally considered to reflect hypersynchronous neuronal activity arising from runaway excitation. Here the authors analyze spike train patterns of single neurons during seizures in human epilepsy patients, finding that spiking activity during seizure initiation was highly heterogeneous in small cortical patches and across the network.

    • Wilson Truccolo
    • Jacob A Donoghue
    • Sydney S Cash
  • Perceptual learning has been proposed to result from improvements either in early sensory processing or at the later stage of sensory decoding. Here the authors show that altering the feedforward connectivity in a recurrent neural network so as to improve probabilistic inference in early visual areas results in both modest changes in tuning curves and reduced noise correlations.

    • Vikranth R Bejjanki
    • Jeffrey M Beck
    • Alexandre Pouget
  • Previous work suggests that occipital pole areas corresponding to the central retina can be driven by retinal activity elsewhere when the central retina is lesioned. This fMRI study in individuals with macular degeneration with retinal lesions finds no evidence for such remapping of activity, suggesting that plasticity in adult visual cortex is limited.

    • Heidi A Baseler
    • André Gouws
    • Antony B Morland
  • This study uses a combination of TMS, fMRI and EEG to provide causal evidence for the role of the prefrontal cortex in the modulation of selective attention. Participants with greater decrement in visual association cortex modulation when TMS was used to knock out the prefrontal contribution had greater working memory performance decline.

    • Theodore P Zanto
    • Michael T Rubens
    • Adam Gazzaley
  • The use of brain machine interfaces for neuroprosthetic control is known to change the tuning properties of neurons directly projecting the interface. Here the authors report that there are also tuning changes to indirectly projecting neurons, which are stable, but relatively small when compared with changes in the directly projecting neurons.

    • Karunesh Ganguly
    • Dragan F Dimitrov
    • Jose M Carmena
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