Learning and memory

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cold tolerance in Caenorhabditis elegansis regulated by signalling pathways and neuronal circuits, but the exact mechanisms are unclear. Here the authors show that cold tolerance requires activity from specific light and pheromone-sensing neurons that release insulin to regulate gene expression in the intestine.

    • Akane Ohta
    • , Tomoyo Ujisawa
    •  & Atsushi Kuhara
  • Article |

    The intracellular redox protein MICAL plays an important role during Drosophilanervous system development but the function of its vertebrate homologue remains unknown. Here the authors show that MICAL-1 regulates targeting of secretory vesicles containing IgCAMs to the neuronal growth cone in mice and plays a role in hippocampal connectivity.

    • Eljo Y. Van Battum
    • , Rou-Afza F. Gunput
    •  & R. Jeroen Pasterkamp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding the genetic basis of cognitive traits could aid the development of numeracy and literacy skills in children. Here the authors show that reading and mathematics have a large overlapping genetic component and suggest that a child's learning environment has a key role in creating differences between them.

    • Oliver S. P. Davis
    • , Gavin Band
    •  & Chris C. A. Spencer
  • Article |

    The protein kinase CaMKII modulates synaptic plasticity and learning in both vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. In this study, the authors demonstrate a role for autophosphorylated CaMKII (pT305-CaMKII) in maintaining memory consolidation after classical conditioning in the invertebrate species Lymnaea.

    • Souvik Naskar
    • , Huimin Wan
    •  & György Kemenes
  • Article |

    Social learning is crucial to the evolutionary success of humans. Here, the authors evaluate social learning strategies in a sample of human subjects and find that some individuals imitate the behaviours of their most successful peers, while others conform to the behaviour of the majority.

    • Lucas Molleman
    • , Pieter van den Berg
    •  & Franz J. Weissing
  • Article |

    Sleep is implicated in consolidating procedural skills. Here, Song and Cohen train subjects on a repeating sequence of key-presses and show that practice contributes to transitional information-based aspects of skill whereas sleep contributes to ordinal information-based aspects of skill.

    • Sunbin Song
    •  & Leonardo G. Cohen
  • Article |

    Suprachiasmatic nucleus circadian oscillatory protein (SCOP) is implicated in long-term potentiation. Here, the authors show that μ-calpain-mediated SCOP degradation contributes to long-term potentiation induction, whereas m-calpain-mediated stimulation of SCOP synthesis restricts long-term potentiation.

    • Yubin Wang
    • , Guoqi Zhu
    •  & Michel Baudry
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cholinergic signalling modulates learning and memory; however, its influence on learning-induced synaptic plasticity is less clear. Mitsushima et al.show that acetylcholine simultaneously strengthens both excitatory and inhibitory synapses onto CA1 pyramidal neurons following an inhibitory avoidance task.

    • Dai Mitsushima
    • , Akane Sano
    •  & Takuya Takahashi
  • Article |

    Slow-wave neural activity, which comprises up and down states, regulates long-term potentiation. Kruskal et al. show that endogenous neural circuit activity corresponding to up states acts as a potent and dynamic promoter of long-term potentiation.

    • Peter B. Kruskal
    • , Lucy Li
    •  & Jason N MacLean
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Motor cortex NMDA receptors have a key role in the acquisition of associative memories. Hasan et al. generate mice lacking NMDA receptor activity in the motor cortex and find that this impairs LTP, strengthening of synapses between somatosensory and motor cortices, and associative learning.

    • Mazahir T. Hasan
    • , Samuel Hernández-González
    •  & José M. Delgado-García
  • Article |

    Vocal learning is a feature that is specific to some species of mammals and birds, including oscine songbirds. Liu et alstudy the vocal, non-learning, eastern phoebe suboscine, and find that it uses the forebrain to control the vocal-motor system, similar to vocal learning oscines.

    • Wan-chun Liu
    • , Kazuhiro Wada
    •  & Fernando Nottebohm
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Gamma oscillations act to synchronize neuronal activity and are implicated in cognitive processing. Using in vivo electrophysiology, Shinohara et al. find that gamma oscillations and associated structural changes are greater in right-sided hippocampi of enriched environment-reared rats.

    • Yoshiaki Shinohara
    • , Aki Hosoya
    •  & Hajime Hirase
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Memory lapses during memory consolidation are periods when the memory becomes briefly inaccessible after its formation. Marra and colleagues study memory lapses in the mollusc Lymnaea, and find that only during these lapses is consolidation of memories susceptible to interruption by external disturbances.

    • Vincenzo Marra
    • , Michael O’Shea
    •  & Ildikó Kemenes
  • Article |

    The ability to delay gratification in childhood correlates with the ability to exert self-control in adulthood. Berman and colleagues re-examine individuals that were studied 40 years ago and find that the individuals who are able to exert a high level of self-control have more efficient neural networks.

    • Marc G. Berman
    • , Grigori Yourganov
    •  & John Jonides
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The heterogeneity of cortical interneurons results from spatio-temporal differences in embryonic origin. Marissal et al. show that early-generated glutamatergic neurons display distinct morpho-functional features, suggesting that temporal factors are also important in determining glutamatergic function.

    • Thomas Marissal
    • , Paolo Bonifazi
    •  & Rosa Cossart
  • Article |

    Working memory is vital for individuals to carry out everyday activities. Fougnie and colleagues ask subjects to perform memory tasks and find that the precision of working memory varies independently across trials and items, which is inconsistent with the assumptions of standard models of memory.

    • Daryl Fougnie
    • , Jordan W. Suchow
    •  & George A. Alvarez
  • Article |

    Changes in gene expression in the hippocampus and the cortex are pivotal for memory consolidation. Gräff and colleagues use a recognition task in mice to show that epigenetic post-translational modifications are rapidly activated in the hippocampus after learning, but induced with a delay in the cortex.

    • Johannes Gräff
    • , Bisrat T. Woldemichael
    •  & Isabelle M. Mansuy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In the classical model, fast neuronal signalling occurs at specialized presynaptic terminals. Now, Ratnayakaet al. show that stimulus-driven fusion and recycling of synaptic vesicles can occur at axonal sites remote from conventional synapses. These findings have implications for dynamic forms of neuron–neuron communication.

    • Arjuna Ratnayaka
    • , Vincenzo Marra
    •  & Kevin Staras
  • Article |

    Memory retrieval followed by extinction training has been shown to erase fear memories. Flavellet al. show that this approach also erases appetitive memories in rats and results from a modification of memory reconsolidation, which could be useful for the treatment of drug addiction.

    • Charlotte R. Flavell
    • , David J. Barber
    •  & Jonathan L.C. Lee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In neurons, GABAA receptors mediate feed-forward inhibition by shunting excitatory currents and hyperpolarizing neurons. Here, the authors show that the hyperpolarization-activated mixed cation current is critical for determining the resting membrane potential and reversal potential for GABAA-mediated currents.

    • Ivan Pavlov
    • , Annalisa Scimemi
    •  & Matthew C. Walker
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Little is known about the way bats recognize large objects, such as trees, buildings or a lake. Greif and Siemers show that bodies of water are recognized solely by echolocation, and that this ability is innate, thus smooth surfaces are recognized as water by naive juvenile bats.

    • Stefan Greif
    •  & Björn M. Siemers