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Volume 20 Issue 10, October 2017

Animals navigate the environment by using multiple types of information. In their study, Shiozaki and Kazama recorded neural activity in fruit flies navigating in a virtual space and discovered parallel neural circuits that separately encode distinct navigation cues. Image: a tethered fly flying toward a selected visual target in a choice task.13231395

News & Views

  • Upon injury of the developing mouse cerebellum, endogenous repair mechanisms can heal the brain and prevent behavioral motor deficits. At the right time, with the right cues, the brain can repair itself.

    • Baptiste N Jaeger
    • Sebastian Jessberger
    News & Views


  • Central amygdala directs behavioral responses to emotionally salient stimuli. While most studies have focused on aversive responses, some central amygdala neurons promote feeding and are positively reinforcing.

    • Yoav Livneh
    • Mark L Andermann
    News & Views
  • Inputs to the central complex, the navigation center of Drosophila, are strongly modulated by the visual stimulus history. These history effects carry forward to bias turning behavior when flies choose between two visual stimuli.

    • Mai M Morimoto
    • Aman B Saleem
    News & Views
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Brief Communication

  • Human perception can improve through repeated practice, enabling perceptual learning. The authors report findings challenging the fundamental ‘practice makes perfect’ basis of procedural learning theory. They show that brief periods in which visual memory is reactivated are sufficient to improve basic perceptual thresholds, supporting a new account of perceptual learning dynamics.

    • Rotem Amar-Halpert
    • Rony Laor-Maayany
    • Nitzan Censor
    Brief Communication
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  • Using an adeno-associated virus–mediated, direct in vivo CRISPR screen, the authors mapped a quantitative landscape of glioblastoma suppressors. Their study revealed gene combinations that functionally drive gliomagenesis from normal glia in native mouse brains. The authors further demonstrate that mutational background can differentially influence gene expression and chemotherapeutic resistance.

    • Ryan D Chow
    • Christopher D Guzman
    • Sidi Chen


  • The authors propose a framework for drug repositioning by comparing GWAS-imputed transcriptomes with drug-induced gene expression profiles. The approach was applied to seven psychiatric disorders. Repositioning candidates were significantly enriched for known psychiatric medications or for therapies considered in clinical trials, supporting a role of GWAS in guiding drug discovery.

    • Hon-Cheong So
    • Carlos Kwan-Long Chau
    • Pak-Chung Sham
  • Brain self-assembly is thought to be initiated by pioneer neurons whose identity is unknown. Rapti et al., addressing this long-standing mystery, uncover key steps in forming the brain-like nerve ring of C. elegans. Glia initiate the structure, using Netrin to guide pioneer neurons, whose identity is characterized. Glia and pioneer neurons then together direct follower-axon guidance using redundant guidance factors.

    • Georgia Rapti
    • Chang Li
    • Shai Shaham
  • Recovery of the developing cerebellum after depletion of granule cells, the most plentiful neuron population, depends on adaptive reprogramming of neural progenitors to a new fate and a powerful cell–cell communication system that ensures re-establishment of the correct proportions of different cerebellar cell types and normal circuit formation.

    • Alexandre Wojcinski
    • Andrew K Lawton
    • Alexandra L Joyner
  • Neocortical resident microglia are long-lived cells. Füger et al. report that approximately half of these cells survive for the entire lifespan of a mouse. While microglial proliferation under homeostatic conditions is low, proliferation is increased in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

    • Petra Füger
    • Jasmin K Hefendehl
    • Mathias Jucker
  • The amygdala central nucleus (CeA) has been implicated in feeding regulation, but the underlying circuit mechanisms are incompletely understood. The authors show, in mice, that GABAergic serotonin receptor 2a–expressing CeA neurons are active during eating and promote positive reinforcement and food consumption, partly through long-range inhibition of the parabrachial nucleus.

    • Amelia M Douglass
    • Hakan Kucukdereli
    • Rüdiger Klein
  • Monkeys, like humans, normally have face domains in inferotemporal cortex; however, monkeys raised without exposure to faces do not develop face patches. Normally reared monkeys, like humans, preferentially look at faces, but face-deprived monkeys do not. These results highlight the importance of early experience for normal sensory and cognitive development.

    • Michael J Arcaro
    • Peter F Schade
    • Margaret S Livingstone
  • New techniques for visually stimulating and stabilizing the retina reveal that humans control covert attentional resources with high precision at the center of gaze. These findings show that fine attentional deployment occurs within the fovea and enhances high-acuity vision.

    • Martina Poletti
    • Michele Rucci
    • Marisa Carrasco
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  • This paper reports the availability of a new Resource with RNA-seq, DNA methylation and H3K9Ac QTL results from 411 brain samples. Many xQTL SNPs influence multiple molecular features, and the authors observe epigenetic mediation of eQTLs in some cases. Reanalyzing GWAS with an xQTL-weighted approach detected 20 new CNS disease susceptibility loci.

    • Bernard Ng
    • Charles C White
    • Philip L De Jager
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