Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 18 Issue 4, April 2015

Recording from populations of head-direction cells across brain states, Peyrache and colleagues provide an experimental demonstration of the existence of a self-organized ring attractor: the sequential activity of head-direction neurons observed in the waking mouse persists during sleep, and this 'neuronal compass' always points toward well-defined directions. The cover depicts the probabilistic compass 'needle' (heat map ring) decoded from neuronal activity as the animal is exploring its environment. Cover design by Erin Dewalt, concept by the authors. Images provided by the authors and ThinkStock.482569

News & Views

  • Reductions in brain glucose metabolism have long been associated with Alzheimer's disease. A study now demonstrates that the endothelial glucose transporter GLUT1 is vital for maintaining brain energy metabolism and vascular clearance of amyloid-β.

    • Costantino Iadecola
    News & Views


  • Chronic cocaine exposure induces long-lasting, transcription-dependent changes in neuronal function. A genome-wide sequencing study shows how cocaine changes the epigenome to exert specific, long-lasting effects on neuronal transcription.

    • Anne E West
    News & Views
  • A study shows that reward and punishment have distinct influences on motor adaptation. Punishing mistakes accelerates adaptation, whereas rewarding good behavior improves retention.

    • Dagmar Sternad
    • Konrad Paul Körding
    News & Views
  • Head direction cells have been hypothesized to form representations of an animal's spatial orientation through internal network interactions. New data from mice show the predicted signatures of these internal dynamics.

    • Nathan W Schultheiss
    • A David Redish
    News & Views
Top of page ⤴


  • Temporally coordinated signals at gamma frequencies and higher are often used to study inter-regional communication in brain networks, but interpreting mechanisms from population measures can be troublesome. The authors discuss the physiological origins of gamma coherence and suggest ways to decipher its roles in neural function.

    • György Buzsáki
    • Erik W Schomburg
Top of page ⤴

Brief Communication

  • This study utilizes in vivo clonal lineage tracing of adult subependymal zone neural stem cells in mice to reveal frequent stem cells divisions and significant progeny expansion, thus allowing rapid clonal growth. The authors also show that neural stem cells lacked significant long-term self-renewal abilities which led to clonal exhaustion. Olfactory bulb neuronal diversity emerges at the population level, as single stem cells show restricted diversity in neuronal subtype production.

    • Filippo Calzolari
    • Julia Michel
    • Jovica Ninkovic
    Brief Communication
  • The authors used rewarding stimulations triggered by place cell activity during sleep to create a place preference for the related place field in mice once they woke up. This shows that an explicit memory trace can be created during sleep and demonstrates a causal role of place cells in spatial navigation.

    • Gaetan de Lavilléon
    • Marie Masako Lacroix
    • Karim Benchenane
    Brief Communication
  • Ling and colleagues report evidence for orientation selective responses in the human lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). Moreover, they found that the nature of these orientation representations depend on attentional feedback, suggesting that the LGN serves as an early filter for sensory information, altering contour signals before they reach cortex.

    • Sam Ling
    • Michael S Pratte
    • Frank Tong
    Brief Communication
  • Using a quantitative perfusion imaging technique, the authors investigated in healthy humans what brain regions encode a slowly varying tonic pain state. Only a small region in the contralateral dorsal posterior insula tracked the full pain experience, suggesting it is the homolog of a nociception-specific region found in animals.

    • Andrew R Segerdahl
    • Melvin Mezue
    • Irene Tracey
    Brief Communication
Top of page ⤴


  • Glioblastomas contains stem-like tumor cells that display differential metabolic profiles. Here the authors show that brain tumor initiating cells contain fragmented mitochondria owing to activation of the key mediator of mitochondrial fission, DRP1, controlled by a competitive CDK5–CAMK2 axis. Targeting DRP1 activity attenuates growth of stem-like tumor cells, and activated DRP1 informs poor patient prognosis.

    • Qi Xie
    • Qiulian Wu
    • Jeremy N Rich
  • In this study, the authors report the molecular characterization of orally bioavailable and blood-brain-barrier permeable inhibitors of the nuclear export molecule Xpo1/CRM1 and define the immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects in preclinical models of inflammatory demyelination and excitatory neurotoxicity.

    • Jeffery D Haines
    • Olivier Herbin
    • Patrizia Casaccia
  • Winkler et al. show that the glucose transporter GLUT1 in brain endothelium is necessary for the maintenance of proper brain capillary networks and blood-brain barrier integrity. The study also shows that loss of GLUT1 in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease accelerates BBB breakdown, perfusion and metabolic stress resulting in behavioral deficits, elevated amyloid beta levels and neurodegeneration.

    • Ethan A Winkler
    • Yoichiro Nishida
    • Berislav V Zlokovic
  • This study shows how somatostatin (SOM)-expressing interneurons contribute to odor coding in mouse olfactory cortex. Odor-tuned SOM cells regulate neuronal output through a purely subtractive operation that is independent of odor identity or intensity. This operation enhances the salience of odor-evoked activity without changing cortical odor tuning.

    • James F Sturgill
    • Jeffry S Isaacson
  • Expression of TET1 dioxygenase, which catalyzes the conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, is downregulated by repeated cocaine administration in mouse nucleus accumbens, where it controls cocaine reward. Genome-wide mapping of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in this brain region reveals novel modes of epigenetic regulation by cocaine.

    • Jian Feng
    • Ningyi Shao
    • Eric J Nestler
  • The authors demonstrate that the anti-stress peptide neuropeptide Y reduces binge drinking in monkeys and mice by inhibiting neurons in the amygdala that contain the stress peptide corticotropin-releasing factor. Further, the authors find that chronic drinking leads to changes in anti-stress peptide systems that may underlie the pathology stemming from binge drinking.

    • Kristen E Pleil
    • Jennifer A Rinker
    • Thomas L Kash
  • The authors use TetTag pharmacogenetics to mark neuronal ensembles activated in the preoptic hypothalamus during dexmedeotomidine-induced sedation or recovery sleep. When these ensembles were selectively reactivated, NREM sleep and the accompanying drop in body temperature were recapitulated. Thus α2 adrenergic receptor–induced sedation and recovery sleep share circuitry sufficient for producing these states.

    • Zhe Zhang
    • Valentina Ferretti
    • Nicholas P Franks
  • The authors show that inhibitory neurons of the pontine reticular formation (PRF) exert powerful control over the intralaminar thalamic nuclei, a major gate of forebrain motor centers. Optogenetic activation of inhibitory PRF terminals antagonizes voluntary movements and promotes slow cortical oscillations, highlighting the contribution of brainstem ascending projections to large-scale motor circuits.

    • Kristóf Giber
    • Marco A Diana
    • László Acsády
  • Recording from population of head-direction cells across brain states, the authors provide experimental demonstration of the existence of internally organized attractor: the sequential activity of head direction neurons observed in the waking mouse persists during sleep, and this 'neuronal compass' always points toward well-defined directions.

    • Adrien Peyrache
    • Marie M Lacroix
    • György Buzsáki
  • Learning of arbitrary associations depends on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. This learning is reflected in prefrontal cortex. The hippocampus instead provides feedback about whether trial-and-error guesses are correct or incorrect. The two areas synchronize in different frequency bands following correct vs. incorrect guesses, which may guide learning.

    • Scott L Brincat
    • Earl K Miller
  • Forgetting can at times serve an adaptive purpose. Here the authors develop a method for dynamically tracking neocortical activity patterns related to the retrieval of individual episodic memories. They show that remembering gradually enhances relevant memories but also suppresses the cortical traces of interfering memories, causing adaptive forgetting.

    • Maria Wimber
    • Arjen Alink
    • Michael C Anderson
  • The authors use computational modeling of participants' performance on an aversive learning task to examine how decision-making is altered in anxiety. Results indicate that anxious individuals struggle to use information regarding the stability of action-outcome relationships to guide their choices. Pupillometry data link this deficit to altered norepinephrinergic function.

    • Michael Browning
    • Timothy E Behrens
    • Sonia J Bishop


  • Human motor adaptation is often described as an automatic process insensitive to reward- or punishment-based feedback. Contrary to this hypothesis, Galea et al. show through a double dissociation that negative and positive feedback have independent effects on the learning and retention components of motor adaptation, respectively. These results promise to have significant implications for the understanding and optimization of motor adaptation.

    • Joseph M Galea
    • Elizabeth Mallia
    • Jörn Diedrichsen
Top of page ⤴


  • The authors discovered that circular RNAs are significantly enriched in the mouse brain and can be visualized in situ, near synapses. They observed that many circRNAs change their abundance during synaptogenesis and also following neuronal homeostatic plasticity, suggesting a function for circRNA in regulating synaptic development and plasticity.

    • Xintian You
    • Irena Vlatkovic
    • Wei Chen
Top of page ⤴


Quick links