Neuroscience

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    Adult neurogenesis in the mammalian brain is implicated in the storage and processing of memories. Vivaret al.label afferents to new dentate gyrus granule cells and find that they receive direct input from the perirhinal and lateral entorhinal cortex and that these inputs enable spatial pattern separation.

    • Carmen Vivar
    • , Michelle C. Potter
    •  & Henriette van Praag
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    In the inner ear, sound waves produce movements in hair cell sterocilia, triggering the opening of ion channels. Hakizimana and colleagues show that the resultant currents change the length of sterocilia, and that these length changes alter the efficiency by which sound is converted into electrical signals.

    • Pierre Hakizimana
    • , William E. Brownell
    •  & Anders Fridberger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fragile X syndrome is a major genetic cause of autism and is caused by loss of the fragile X mental retardation protein. In a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, Junget al. show that an absence of neuronal endocannabinoid signalling is responsible for the neurophysiological and behavioural defects.

    • Kwang-Mook Jung
    • , Marja Sepers
    •  & Olivier J. Manzoni
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    The pulvinar nucleus is involved in modulating visual information. Fischer and Whitney use brain imaging to study the pulvinar during visual attention, and find that the positions and orientations of attended objects are precisely encoded in the pulvinar, while information about ignored objects is gated out.

    • Jason Fischer
    •  & David Whitney
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Seizure activity in the brain is characterized by the recruitment of cortical neuronal activity. Schevon and colleagues study seizure activity in human subjects and find that the recruitment of neurons is hypersynchronous and that there is an intrinsic restraint on the propagation of this activity.

    • Catherine A. Schevon
    • , Shennan A. Weiss
    •  & Andrew J. Trevelyan
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    The paratympanic organ in the avian middle ear is similar to the fish spiracular organ, but its developmental origin is unresolved. O'Neillet al. use fate mapping techniques to show that the avian paratympanic organ and its afferent neurons arise from a previously undiscovered neurogenic placode.

    • Paul O'Neill
    • , Siu-Shan Mak
    •  & Clare V.H. Baker
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    Sex pheromones are used by adult members of a species to attract a mate. This study proposes that the larvae of the cotton leafwormSpodoptera littoralisare attracted to sex pheromones and prefer a food source containing it, suggesting an alternative use of the sex pheromone to trigger food search in caterpillars.

    • Erwan Poivet
    • , Kacem Rharrabe
    •  & Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly
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    Speech is encoded by the firing patterns of speech-controlling neurons in different regions of the brain, which Tankus and colleagues analyse in this study. They find highly specific encoding of vowels in medial–frontal neurons and nonspecific tuning in superior temporal gyrus neurons.

    • Ariel Tankus
    • , Itzhak Fried
    •  & Shy Shoham
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    The amyloid beta peptide can aggregate into insoluble plaques, which may indicate the onset of Alzheimer's disease. In a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, Cao and colleagues report a phenotype of altered connectivity in the olfactory neuronal circuit that precedes amyloid plaque deposition.

    • Luxiang Cao
    • , Benjamin R. Schrank
    •  & Mark W. Albers
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The kinase PINK1 is mutated in Parkinson's disease and accumulates in defective mitochondria, where it recruits Parkin. Here, PINK1 is shown to be autophosphorylated and this is required for the localization of PINK1 to mitochondria with a reduced membrane potential, and for the recruitment of Parkin.

    • Kei Okatsu
    • , Toshihiko Oka
    •  & Noriyuki Matsuda
  • 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 |

    Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels are apparently voltage insensitive despite having the S4-type voltage sensor. Marchesiet al.show that the gating of wild-type CNGA1 and native CNG channels is voltage-independent in the presence of Li+, Na+ and K+, but that it is voltage-dependent in the presence of Rb+, Cs+ and organic cations.

    • Arin Marchesi
    • , Monica Mazzolini
    •  & Vincent Torre
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In uteroelectroporation allows the labelling of specific populations of neurons in the developing mouse brain. The authors of this paper present a simple modification of this method that increases labelling efficiency and allows, for the first time, transfection of Purkinje cells in the rat cerebellum.

    • Marco dal Maschio
    • , Diego Ghezzi
    •  & Laura Cancedda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Electrical stimulation is used to treat a range of neurological diseases, but there are limitations that reduce its benefits. Bonmassar and colleagues show that magnetic stimulation delivered by small coils, close to the targeted neural tissue, can also be used to activate neurons and with fewer limitations.

    • Giorgio Bonmassar
    • , Seung Woo Lee
    •  & John T. Gale
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Synaptic GTPase-activating protein, SynGAP, is a postsynaptic signalling protein that can regulate synaptic function. McMahonet al. express different SynGAP isoforms in neurons and find that the effect on synaptic strength depends on alternative promoter usage and alternative splicing of the C-terminus.

    • A.C. McMahon
    • , M.W. Barnett
    •  & P.C. Kind
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Claudin-5 is a component of tight junctions and has important roles in mediating the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Campbell and co-workers administer short interfering RNA against claudin-5 in a model of brain injury, finding that it enhances water movement from the brain to the blood and alleviates swelling.

    • Matthew Campbell
    • , Finnian Hanrahan
    •  & Peter Humphries
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Signalling inputs to neural progenitors regulate the differentiation of the stem cell pool. By analysing the mechanisms occuring during neurogenesis, Cambrayet al. report that activin is the pivotal factor regulating the differentiation of telencephalic neural precursors towards a cortical interneuron fate.

    • Serafí Cambray
    • , Charles Arber
    •  & Tristan A. Rodríguez
  • Article |

    The damaging effects of loud noise on auditory function are well established, but the effects of low-level noise are not so well understood. Zhou and Merzenich chronically expose adult rats to structured low-level noise and find that it causes auditory cortex damage and sound discrimination impairment.

    • Xiaoming Zhou
    •  & Michael M. Merzenich
  • Article |

    Adars are adenosine deaminases that act on RNAs, including those encoding proteins involved in neuronal transmission and also Adar RNA. Here, Savvaet al. engineered knock-in Drosophila mutants with altered Adar autoediting and found that this changed the spectrum of adenosine deamination and Drosophilabehaviour.

    • Yiannis A. Savva
    • , James E.C Jepson
    •  & Robert A. Reenan
  • Article |

    Bats use a process known as echolocation to measure the distance of an object by echo delay. Here, studies in newborn bats reveal that echo delay tuning of neurons in the auditory cortex is present at birth rather than acquired as a result of echolocation experience.

    • Manfred Kössl
    • , Cornelia Voss
    •  & Marianne Vater
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The amyloid-β-peptide is pivotal to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, but its mechanism of action remains uncertain. This study utilizesin vivotwo-photon calcium imaging to investigate the effects of this peptide on single cortical neurons of the visual cortex in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

    • Christine Grienberger
    • , Nathalie L. Rochefort
    •  & Arthur Konnerth
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Jurors can be influenced by mitigating circumstances when deciding on sentences for committed crimes. Yamadaet al. show that feelings of sympathy created by mitigating circumstances activate moral conflict regions of the brain that predict individual differences in the severity of the sentence.

    • Makiko Yamada
    • , Colin F. Camerer
    •  & Hidehiko Takahashi
  • Article |

    Some animals find the same odorant attractive at low concentrations and repulsive at high concentrations, but how this discrimination occurs is unclear. UsingCaenorhabditis elegans as a model system, Yoshida et al. show that different sets of sensory neurons respond to low and high concentrations of odours.

    • Kazushi Yoshida
    • , Takaaki Hirotsu
    •  & Takeshi Ishihara
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1) repairs DNA breaks and is mutated in the disease Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Axonal Neuropathy. Here TDP1 is shown to be post-translationally modified by sumoylation of lysine 111, and cells carrying a mutation at this residue are inefficient at single-strand DNA break repair.

    • Jessica J.R. Hudson
    • , Shih-Chieh Chiang
    •  & Sherif F. El-Khamisy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The pentameric ligand gated ion channel fromErwinia chrysanthemi(ELIC) is similar in structure to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, a member of the Cys-loop receptor family. This study reports the crystal structure of ELIC bound to acetylcholine and shows that acetylcholine is a competitive antagonist of ELIC.

    • Jianjun Pan
    • , Qiang Chen
    •  & Pei Tang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Glutathione's key role as a modulator of reactive oxygen species levels has recently been challenged. Quintana-Cabreraet al. now provide in vivoevidence supporting an antioxidant and neuroprotective function for γ-glutamylcysteine, which replaces glutathione by acting as glutathione peroxidase-1 cofactor.

    • Ruben Quintana-Cabrera
    • , Seila Fernandez-Fernandez
    •  & Juan P. Bolaños
  • Article |

    Humans are a network of complex physiological systems, but quantifying these diverse systems is a challenge. This study presents a method to show that each physiological state is characterized by a specific network structure, demonstrating a connection between network topology and function.

    • Amir Bashan
    • , Ronny P. Bartsch
    •  & Plamen Ch. Ivanov
  • Article |

    The exact speed of spoken word processing by our brain is still unknown. Using MEG to compare brain responses to words and pseudowords, MacGregoret al. show that lexical processing occurs 50 ms after acoustic information is presented, suggesting that our brain's access to word information is near-instantaneous.

    • Lucy J MacGregor
    • , Friedemann Pulvermüller
    •  & Yury Shtyrov
  • Article |

    Animals track odour trails to find food, a mate or to steer clear of danger. Bhalla and colleagues combine behavioural and physiological measurements to show that rats can track surface-borne odours with near-optimal sampling and are able to predict the path direction on encountering a bifurcation.

    • Adil Ghani Khan
    • , Manaswini Sarangi
    •  & Upinder Singh Bhalla
  • Article |

    Humans understand actions by making inferences about the person's intentions. Comparing humans with chimpanzees, this study shows that humans refer to the actors' faces more than chimpanzees do when observing goal-directed actions, indicating that humans view actions by integrating information from the actor.

    • Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi
    • , Céline Scola
    •  & Satoshi Hirata
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Experience-dependent plasticity and functional adaptation are thought to be restricted to the central nervous and immune systems. This study shows that long-lasting experience-dependent plasticity is a key feature of endocrine cell networks, allowing improved tissue function and hormone output following repeat demand.

    • David J. Hodson
    • , Marie Schaeffer
    •  & Patrice Mollard
  • Article |

    Food availability elicits behavioural and developmental responses. Adamset al. show that, in sea urchin larvae, food availability mediates developmental plasticity by regulating changes in arm length through dopamine signalling, a pathway widely used to mediate food-induced behavioural responses.

    • Diane K. Adams
    • , Mary A. Sewell
    •  & Lynne M. Angerer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reinforcement learning quantifies the change in behaviour in response to past experience. Using field goal attempt data from basketball, Neiman and Loewenstein demonstrate that even one failed or made attempt has an impact on subsequent attempts, showing that players overgeneralize from their most recent actions.

    • Tal Neiman
    •  & Yonatan Loewenstein
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Most excitatory synapses in the brain are found on dendritic spines, but the mechanisms underlying synapse formation are poorly understood. Niesmannet al. investigate the role of neurobeachin in synaptogenesis, and find that its deletion leads to fewer spinous synapses and altered postsynaptic currents.

    • Katharina Niesmann
    • , Dorothee Breuer
    •  & Markus Missler
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    The health benefits of massage therapy, like the reduction of stress, have so far only been shown in humans. This study uses modelling to demonstrate that, while visiting cleaner fish to have ectoparasites removed, the physical stimulation also acts to reduce stress in the coral reef fish,Ctenochaetus striatus.

    • Marta C. Soares
    • , Rui F. Oliveira
    •  & Redouan Bshary
  • 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