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Volume 17 Issue 7, July 2014

The subependymal zone (SEZ) is a neurogenic niche that gives rise to adult-born neurons. Paez-Gonzalez and colleagues describe a population of cholinergic neurons in this region that modulates neural progenitor proliferation. The cover depicts a SEZ cholinergic neuron (red) along with surrounding stem cells and newborn neuroblasts (teal). Cover image by Chay Kuo.897934


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News & Views

  • The orbitofrontal cortex and ventral striatum encode expected outcomes during economic decision-making. Research now demonstrates that activity in these structures also represents missed opportunities during a foraging task cleverly designed to elicit regret in rats, the Restaurant Row task.

    • Gregory B Bissonette
    • Daniel W Bryden
    • Matthew R Roesch
    News & Views
  • A leading therapeutic molecule for multiple sclerosis, FTY720, is shown to mimic a key component of sphingolipid signaling, resulting in specific manipulation of histone deacetylases and the extinction of memory.

    • Dina P Matheos
    • Marcelo A Wood
    News & Views
  • The proliferation of NSCs in the adult SVZ is controlled by a set of neurons expressing choline acetyltransferase, identifying a mechanism connecting brain activity to neurogenesis in the adult mammalian brain.

    • Gregor-Alexander Pilz
    • Sebastian Jessberger
    News & Views
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Review Article

  • This Review discusses the molecular mechanisms by which neuronal identity is maintained throughout animals' development and lives. Drawing from the invertebrate and vertebrate literature, Deneris and Hobert also describe common themes, where the initial specification of neurons and subsequent maintenance of cell identity may share transcriptional programming and transcription factors. The piece also discusses such mechanism's implications for neurological diseases.

    • Evan S Deneris
    • Oliver Hobert
    Review Article
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Brief Communication

  • In this study, the authors show that conditional deletion of leptin receptors from astrocytes alters their morphology and results in an increase in the number of synapses on POMC and AgRP neurons of the arcuate nucleus. In addition, they find that loss of leptin response in astrocytes modified leptin- and ghrelin-controlled food intake.

    • Jae Geun Kim
    • Shigetomo Suyama
    • Tamas L Horvath
    Brief Communication
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  • To address how agonist binding is transduced into pore opening in NMDARs, the authors manipulated the coupling between the ligand binding domain (LBD) and the ion channel and performed computational and thermodynamic analyses. Based on this data, they conclude that NMDAR-mediated synaptic response relies on a mechanical coupling between the LBD and the ion channel.

    • Rashek Kazi
    • Jian Dai
    • Lonnie P Wollmuth
  • Kielar and colleagues identified mutations in the microtubule-associated protein Eml1 in patients with severe cortical heterotopia. Using animal and cell models, the authors found that Eml1 inactivation alters spindle orientation in dividing neuronal progenitors during early corticogenesis, leading to their detachment from the ventricular zone, their accumulation in the intermediate zone and the subsequent development of subcortical heterotopia.

    • Michel Kielar
    • Françoise Phan Dinh Tuy
    • Fiona Francis
  • In this study, the authors show that TGF-β/ALK5 and JNK signaling is necessary during the late stages of adult neurogenesis to promote the survival, migration and proper morphology of newborn neurons. In addition, constitutive activation of this pathway is able to promote improved performance on spatial and contextual learning tasks.

    • Yingbo He
    • Hui Zhang
    • Tony Wyss-Coray
  • Unlike that of its main counterpart, the functional organization of the accessory olfactory bulb, important for detecting socially relevant odors, remains to be detailed. Here the authors map out Ca2+ signals from vomeronasal inputs to the accessory olfactory bulb in response to socially relevant compounds and find a non-chemotopic spatial organization.

    • Gary F Hammen
    • Diwakar Turaga
    • Julian P Meeks
  • In Drosophila melanogaster, descending interneurons known as giant fibers (GFs) are associated with escape behavior. The authors demonstrate that a synthetic looming predator stimulus can trigger GF-mediated short escape and parallel circuit–mediated long escape modes, and the relative spike timing between these circuits determines which escape mode is elicited.

    • Catherine R von Reyn
    • Patrick Breads
    • Gwyneth M Card
  • Fingolimod is a sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator and an immune modulator in use as a treatment for the remitting-relapsing form of multiple sclerosis. Hait et al. show that the active form of fingolimod can inhibit neuronal class I histone deacetylases (HDACs), modulate gene expression in the brain and facilitate memory extinction. The authors also show spatial and associative memory deficits in mutant mice lacking the enzyme necessary for formation of the active form of fingolimod.

    • Nitai C Hait
    • Laura E Wise
    • Sarah Spiegel
  • Using a modified water-maze paradigm involving a spatial distribution of platform locations across training days, the authors found that mice were better able to match platform distributions at later time points after training. Mice also showed greater sensitivity to new, conflicting platform locations at later time points, and this sensitivity depended on the medial prefrontal cortex.

    • Blake A Richards
    • Frances Xia
    • Paul W Frankland
  • Using two-photon imaging of neuronal activity in mouse motor cortex during the acquisition of a self-initiated lever-pull task, Masamizu and colleagues demonstrate that learning is accompanied by a reorganization of ensemble activity in layer 5a. This reorganization correlates with an increase in ensemble prediction of task accuracy. The authors also find that no such changes take place in layer 2/3.

    • Yoshito Masamizu
    • Yasuhiro R Tanaka
    • Masanori Matsuzaki
  • In situations that would be expected to induce regret, the authors report that rats looked backwards towards a lost option, the cells in OFC and ventral striatum represented that missed action, rats were more likely to wait out a long delay, and then they rushed through consuming rewards, suggesting that regret-like processes modify decision-making in nonhuman mammals.

    • Adam P Steiner
    • A David Redish
  • To help identify critical sources of attentional feedback to area V4, the authors surgically deprived V4 of PFC input in one hemisphere while keeping the other hemisphere intact. In the absence of PFC, attentional effects on neuronal responses and synchrony in V4 were significantly reduced and the remaining effects of attention were delayed in time.

    • Georgia G Gregoriou
    • Andrew F Rossi
    • Robert Desimone
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