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Volume 17 Issue 8, August 2014

During sleep, slow-wave activity (SWA) helps consolidate new memories and skills. Gulati and colleagues find that successful control of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) leads to coherent activation of task-relevant units during SWA, and that the more time spent in slow-wave sleep, the better the subsequent control of the BMI task. The cover depicts a sleeping rat as activity related to the control of the BMI is processed offline.10191107


  • There is an urgent need for more research on the effects of e-cigarettes and nicotine addiction in general.



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News & Views

  • Does cell-to-cell spreading of misfolded proteins occur in all neurodegenerative disorders? A study in this issue of Nature Neuroscience now demonstrates propagation of mutant huntingtin in brain slice cultures and in vivo, thereby extending the process of cell-to-cell propagation of misfolded proteins to Huntington's disease.

    • Albert R La Spada
    News & Views
  • Molecular orchestration mediated by Fezf2, a master transcriptional regulator of a particular type of cortical neurons, directly determines both their identity and axonal routing, and thus their connectivity.

    • Masaki Ueno
    • Ryosuke Fujiki
    • Toshihide Yamashita
    News & Views
  • Neural activity up to 3 mm deep in mouse brain can now be inhibited optogenetically through the intact cranium with a red-shifted opsin called Jaws.

    • Ikuko T Smith
    • Spencer L Smith
    News & Views
  • Brain–machine interfaces provide not only potential therapies, but also new tools for studying neuronal processing. A study now uses them to investigate how learning affects sleep activity in motor cortex.

    • Kenneth D Harris
    News & Views
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Review Article

  • The authors review studies of basal ganglia (BG) physiology in the context of the indirect/direct pathway model of the BG. Noting work that is inconsistent with an exclusive role of the direct pathway in promoting movement and indirect pathway inhibiting movement, they propose a revision of the model incorporating recent findings.

    • Paolo Calabresi
    • Barbara Picconi
    • Massimiliano Di Filippo
    Review Article
  • In this paper, Womelsdorf and colleagues review the recent advances in our understanding of how rhythmic activity across multiple frequency bands and brain areas affects neural computations. The authors suggest a dynamic tripartite motif framework that links the activity signatures of given circuits with their structural elements and the proposed computational output.

    • Thilo Womelsdorf
    • Taufik A Valiante
    • Paul Tiesinga
    Review Article
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Brief Communication

  • Neurons make homeostatic adjustments to the strength of their synapses on the basis of their activity levels. Here the authors show the microRNA miR-92a represses the translation of the AMPA receptor subunit GluA1 and that, during activity blockade, its levels are reduced to increase the incorporation of new AMPA receptors.

    • Mathieu Letellier
    • Sara Elramah
    • Alexandre Favereaux
    Brief Communication
  • Sensitization leads to hyperalgesia and depends on mechanisms similar to those involved in memory formation. Here, Bonin and De Koninck find that hyperalgesia can be reversed by combining reactivation of peripheral afferents with spinal administration of a protein synthesis inhibitor, thereby identifying a spinal analogue of memory re-consolidation that enables erasing pain hypersensitivity.

    • Robert P Bonin
    • Yves De Koninck
    Brief Communication
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  • Fezf2 (Fezl) is a transcription factor that specifies corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) originating from cortical layer 5b. Lodato et al. use cortical progenitor isolation from developing mouse brain and gene expression profiling to identify genes downstream of Fezf2 and demonstrate co-regulation of CSMN gene ensembles by Fezf2 in establishing CSMN cell identity.

    • Simona Lodato
    • Bradley J Molyneaux
    • Paola Arlotta
  • Nuclear calcium levels affect gene expression, but little is known about how they are regulated. The authors show that large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels are present on the nuclear envelope in rodent hippocampal neurons. Blockade of nuclear BK channels revealed that they regulate nucleoplasmic Ca2+, gene expression and dendritic arborization.

    • Boxing Li
    • Wei Jie
    • Tian-Ming Gao
  • Trans-neuronal transfer of pathogenic proteins has been demonstrated in multiple neurodegenerative diseases. Here the authors show in vitro and in a mouse model that mutant Huntingtin is also transferred from one neuron to another. This transfer requires exocytosis machinery and contributes to neurodegeneration.

    • Eline Pecho-Vrieseling
    • Claus Rieker
    • Francesco Paolo Di Giorgio
  • The authors show that phosphorylation of the translation factor eIF2α is necessary and sufficient for mGluR-LTD. They identify mRNAs that are translated during mGluR-LTD and regulated by p-eIF2α, including Ophn1 as a key target. Deficient p-eIF2α-mediated translation impairs object-place learning, which requires mGluR-LTD. eIF2α phosphorylation may determine whether synapses undergo LTD or LTP.

    • Gonzalo Viana Di Prisco
    • Wei Huang
    • Mauro Costa-Mattioli
  • In this study, the authors show that neural correlates of insight, including synaptic efficacy in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), are lost in rodents which are allowed to self-administer cocaine, suggesting a link between drug use and adaptation to changing circumstances. Optogenetic activation of OFC pyramidal neurons was able to rescue these behaviors.

    • Federica Lucantonio
    • Yuji K Takahashi
    • Geoffrey Schoenbaum
  • In this study, the authors simultaneously recorded multiple neurons from the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the dorsal striatum (DS) as rats performed an action sequencing task. Sequence and lever decoding based on individual neuron activity was similar in the two regions, but decoding at the ensemble level was quite different.

    • Liya Ma
    • James M Hyman
    • Jeremy K Seamans
  • Using a rodent neuroprosthetic model, the authors found that, after successful learning, task-related units specifically experienced increased locking and coherency to SWA during sleep, and spike-spike coherence among these units was significantly enhanced. These changes were not present with poor skill acquisition or after control awake periods, demonstrating specificity to learning.

    • Tanuj Gulati
    • Dhakshin S Ramanathan
    • Karunesh Ganguly
  • The authors found human neuroimaging evidence that entire valence spectrum is represented as a collective pattern in regional neural activity, with sensory-specific signals in the ventral temporal and anterior insular cortices and abstract codes in the orbitofrontal cortices. In this way, the subjective quality of affect can be objectively quantified across stimuli, modalities and people.

    • Junichi Chikazoe
    • Daniel H Lee
    • Adam K Anderson
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Technical Report

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