Nervous system

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Soft tissue trauma can result in aberrant osteochondral differentiation of local mesenchymal progenitor cells. Here the authors show that, in mice, soft tissue trauma results in NGF expression by perivascular cells, which leads to axonal invasion and drives abnormal osteochondral differentiation, and show that this process can be prevented by inhibition of NGF signaling.

    • Seungyong Lee
    • , Charles Hwang
    •  & Benjamin Levi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The gene regulatory network controlling the bifurcation of common progenitors into the neural retina and retinal-pigmented epithelium programs remains poorly understood. Here the authors study transcriptome dynamics and chromatin accessibility during this process in zebrafish, revealing network redundancy, as well as context-dependent and sequential transcription factor activity.

    • Lorena Buono
    • , Jorge Corbacho
    •  & Juan-Ramón Martínez-Morales
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many animals, including mammals and insects, like slightly acidic yet dislike highly acidic foods, but how animals discriminate low from high acidity is unclear. Here the authors demonstrate that the fruit fly uses an evolutionarily conserved taste receptor to distinguish low from high concentrations of acid.

    • Tingwei Mi
    • , John O. Mack
    •  & Yali V. Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) combines the high tissue penetration of X-rays with specificity to periodic nanostructures. The authors use SAXS tensor tomography (SAXS-TT) on intact mouse and human brain tissue samples, to quantify myelin levels and determine myelin integrity, myelinated axon orientation, and fibre tracts non-destructively.

    • Marios Georgiadis
    • , Aileen Schroeter
    •  & Markus Rudin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Differences in thalamic structure have been observed in several psychiatric disorders, but the genetic overlap has not been explored. Here, the authors perform a genome-wide association study on thalamic nuclei volume and find genetic loci in common between thalamic volumes and brain disorders.

    • Torbjørn Elvsåshagen
    • , Alexey Shadrin
    •  & Tobias Kaufmann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome is characterised by congenital deafness and vestibular dysfunction, and is caused by mutations in KCNE1 or KCNQ1. Here, the authors show that gene therapy via canalostomy at early postnatal stage can preserve the morphology of inner ear and auditory and vestibular functions in a mouse model of human JLNS2.

    • Xuewen Wu
    • , Li Zhang
    •  & Xi Lin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Endogenous attention is known to be controlled by dorsal fronto-parietal brain areas. Here the authors identify a control attention area located in the temporal lobe, which is functionally distinct from surrounding areas, and is directly connected to parietal and frontal attentional regions.

    • Ilaria Sani
    • , Heiko Stemmann
    •  & Winrich A. Freiwald
  • Article
    | Open Access

    To be successful, selective neuromodulation requires a non-invasive method of imaging the fascicular anatomy of peripheral nerves. Here, the authors show the applicability and reliability of fast neural electrical impedance tomography for this purpose and provide its validation against the gold standards of invasive imaging.

    • Enrico Ravagli
    • , Svetlana Mastitskaya
    •  & David Holder
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) is characterized by prominent skeletal abnormalities mediated in part by aberrant ERK pathway activation due to NF1 loss-of-function. Here, the authors report the MEKK2 is a key mediator of this aberrant ERK activation and that MEKK2 inhibitors, including ponatinib, ameliorate skeletal defects in a mouse model of NF1.

    • Seoyeon Bok
    • , Dong Yeon Shin
    •  & Matthew B. Greenblatt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    High resolution intravascular imaging in the brain is limited by the high tortuosity of the vasculature. Here the authors present a fiber optic imaging technology using high-frequency optical coherence tomography (HF-OCT) to provide volumetric high resolution images in the highly tortuous cerebral vasculature.

    • Giovanni J. Ughi
    • , Miklos G. Marosfoi
    •  & Ajit S. Puri
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mutations in human PIEZO2, encoding for a mechanosensitive ion channel, lead to skeletal abnormalities including scoliosis and hip dysplasia. Here, the authors show that deletion of Piezo2 in proprioceptive neurons, but not in skeletal lineages, recapitulated the human phenotype in mice.

    • Eran Assaraf
    • , Ronen Blecher
    •  & Elazar Zelzer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Extravasated erythrocytes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contribute to the pathogenesis of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). Here, the authors show that meningeal lymphatics drain extravasated erythorcytes and that blockage of this drainage aggravates SAH severity.

    • Jinman Chen
    • , Linmei Wang
    •  & Yongjun Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The visual word form area (VWFA) is a brain region associated with written language, but it has also been linked to visuospatial attention. Here, the authors reveal distinct structural and functional circuits linking VWFA with language and attention networks, and demonstrate that these circuits separately predict language and attention abilities.

    • Lang Chen
    • , Demian Wassermann
    •  & Vinod Menon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    MR-focused ultrasound can be used to transiently open the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Here, the authors report the results of a first-in-human trial on four patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), showing that the procedure reversibly permeabilised the BBB in the motor cortex without complications, and suggest that the procedure could in the future be used to increase drug delivery in ALS patients.

    • Agessandro Abrahao
    • , Ying Meng
    •  & Lorne Zinman
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    No effective therapies exist for dry age-related macular degeneration. In this perspective, the authors propose that research should emphasize system biology approaches that integrate various ‘omics’ data into mathematical models to establish pathogenic mechanisms on which to design novel treatments, and identify biomarkers that predict disease progression and therapeutic response.

    • James T. Handa
    • , Cathy Bowes Rickman
    •  & Lindsay A. Farrer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Denervation leads to muscle atrophy and neuromuscular endplate remodeling. Here, the authors show that a balanced activation of mTORC1 contributes to the dynamic regulation of autophagic flux in denervated muscle and that activation of PKB/Akt promotes the nuclear import of HDAC4, which is essential for endplate maintenance upon nerve injury

    • Perrine Castets
    • , Nathalie Rion
    •  & Markus A. Rüegg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Stimulation of peripheral nerve activity may be used to treat metabolic and inflammatory disorders, but current approaches need implanted devices. Here, the authors present a non-invasive approach, and show that ultrasound-mediated stimulation can be targeted to specific sub-organ locations in preclinical models and alter the response of metabolic and inflammatory neural pathways.

    • Victoria Cotero
    • , Ying Fan
    •  & Christopher Puleo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors have previously shown that membrane voltage can influence embryonic patterning during development. Here, the authors computationally model how nicotine disrupts Xenopus embryogenesis by perturbing voltage gradients, and rescue nicotine-inducted defects with HCN2 channel expression.

    • Vaibhav P. Pai
    • , Alexis Pietak
    •  & Michael Levin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cholinergic neurons innervate multiple layers in the main olfactory bulb but the precise circuitry of this input is not known. Here the authors show that VGLUT3+ cholinergic neurons selectively innervate deep short axon cells in specific layers and elicit robust monosynaptic GABAergic and nicotinic postsynaptic currents.

    • Daniel T. Case
    • , Shawn D. Burton
    •  & Rebecca P. Seal
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The evolution of the brain in Old World monkeys (cercopithecoids) is poorly understood. Here the authors describe a complete endocast of Victoriapithecus, a 15 Myr old cercopithecoid, which shows that the brain size was much smaller and the olfactory bulbs much larger than in any extant catarrhine primate.

    • Lauren A. Gonzales
    • , Brenda R. Benefit
    •  & Fred Spoor
  • Article |

    The transcriptional regulation of morphogenetic effectors during eye development is poorly understood. Here, the authors show that transcription of an endocytosis regulator Opois crucial for the neural retina development in zebrafish and activated by the interaction of the transcription factor Vsx2 and retinal enhancer H6_10137.

    • Ines Gago-Rodrigues
    • , Ana Fernández-Miñán
    •  & Juan R. Martinez-Morales
  • Article |

    During development, neurons prune their axons and dendrites to eliminate excessive or inappropriate connections initially formed but the mechanistic details of the pruning process are not completely understood. Here the authors visualize pruning events in dendritic branches in Drosophilaand study the role of calcium transients and endocytosis in this process.

    • Takahiro Kanamori
    • , Jiro Yoshino
    •  & Kazuo Emoto
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The activity of sensory neurons can be correlated with perceptual decisions and this effect may provide insights into how sensory information is processed during perceptual tasks. Here the authors develop a network model of sensory and decision-making areas and propose that the dynamics across the network hierarchy explains the choice probabilities.

    • Klaus Wimmer
    • , Albert Compte
    •  & Jaime de la Rocha
  • Article |

    Mutations of the human KALRN gene are implicated in schizophrenia. Here, Russell et al.identify a genetic variant of this gene in a schizophrenia patient and his sibling diagnosed with major depressive disorder and substance abuse, and find that this is associated with reduced cortical volume and thickness.

    • Theron A. Russell
    • , Katherine D. Blizinsky
    •  & Peter Penzes
  • Article |

    Understanding how developmental, functional and geometric factors determine brain evolution is challenging. Here, the authors show that chimpanzee and human brains have a modular structure and find that local spatial interactions pose stronger constrains to evolution than developmental and functional patterns.

    • Aida Gómez-Robles
    • , William D. Hopkins
    •  & Chet C. Sherwood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Studies on Patient H.M. showed that bilateral resection of the hippocampus results in impaired consolidation of long-term memory. Annese et al.create a digital map of Henry Molaison’s brain and find that a significant portion of the posterior hippocampus is actually histologically intact.

    • Jacopo Annese
    • , Natalie M. Schenker-Ahmed
    •  & Suzanne Corkin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Surface area features of developing visual cortices are implicated in visual perception. Songet al.measure visual discrimination sensitivity in humans and find that an increase in visual cortical surface area activity is associated with improved discrimination sensitivity and degraded contextual illusions.

    • Chen Song
    • , Dietrich S. Schwarzkopf
    •  & Geraint Rees
  • Article |

    The brains of rock- and sand-dwelling Lake Malawi cichlid fishes differ in telencephalon partitioning. Sylvester et al. show that these differences can be attributed to divergence in Hedgehog and Wingless signalling during development.

    • J B. Sylvester
    • , C A. Rich
    •  & J T. Streelman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) use their antennae for orientation during their autumnal migration. Guerra and colleagues differentially disrupt clock gene expression in each antenna and find that the individual outputs are integrated and processed to allow precise control of orientation behaviour.

    • Patrick A. Guerra
    • , Christine Merlin
    •  & Steven M. Reppert
  • Article |

    Encephalization—increase of brain size relative to body size—has occurred in two distinct evolutionary lineages; Neanderthals and modern humans. However, the 3D endocranial surface shape analysis reported here reveals unique structures at the base of the brain inHomo sapiens, which may have contributed to learning and social capacities.

    • Markus Bastir
    • , Antonio Rosas
    •  & Jean-Jacques Hublin
  • Article |

    Vocal communication is relatively common among fish: the midshipman being an example with a particularly wide dynamic range. In this paper, the authors demonstrate that different populations of hindbrain neurons are responsible for the frequency and duration of these calls.

    • Boris P. Chagnaud
    • , Robert Baker
    •  & Andrew H. Bass
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Circadian rhythm is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the mechanisms that control the rhythm are largely undiscovered. In this study, a G protein regulator, RGS16, is shown to be involved in the production of cyclic AMP that is required for the suprachiasmatic nucleus to maintain rhythm

    • Masao Doi
    • , Atsushi Ishida
    •  & Hitoshi Okamura
  • Article |

    Calorie restriction has been associated with increased life span and delayed decline of memory in animals, suggesting a role in neuronal plasticity. In this study, food restriction is demonstrated to enhance plasticity in the central nervous system and trigger the recovery from ocular deprivation in adulthood.

    • Maria Spolidoro
    • , Laura Baroncelli
    •  & Lamberto Maffei
  • Article |

    Pair-wise electrophysiology is difficult inCaenorhabditis elegansbecause the recordings are relatively short-lived. In this study, the authors investigate the synaptic currents associated with escape responses by immobilizing worms on a micropatterned agar substrate and stimulating neurons using channelrhodopsin-2.

    • Theodore H. Lindsay
    • , Tod R. Thiele
    •  & Shawn R. Lockery
  • Article |

    The spinal V2a interneurons control left–right limb alternation during mouse locomotion, but only at high frequencies. In this study, the authors show that only half of these neurons are active during locomotion, and that they receive increasing synaptic drive to increase their activity as locomotion accelerates.

    • Guisheng Zhong
    • , Kamal Sharma
    •  & Ronald M. Harris-Warrick
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In the developing eye, the lens and retina are derived from different embryonic tissues, and how these two structures develop next to each other is of interest. In this study, the authors show that transforming growth factor-β secreted by neural crest cells is critical for the positioning of the lens next to the retina.

    • Timothy Grocott
    • , Samuel Johnson
    •  & Andrea Streit