Nature on Neuroscience

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Neurodegenerative disease: Restoring balance

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 400 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.80

Author: Sian Lewis

Intracellular accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau is a hallmark of Alzheimer disease. Alternative splicing of the gene encoding tau can generate tau isoforms with three repeat domains (3R) or four repeat domains (4R), and it has been hypothesized that an excess of 4R tau

Cell biology of the neuron: Life in the slow lane

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 400 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.81

Author: Sian Lewis

Dynein is a molecular motor that is involved in retrograde axonal transport, but the mechanism by which it reaches distal axonal locations is incompletely understood. Here, the authors used live cell imaging techniques in the mouse brain and found that dynein undergoes anterograde transport as

Sleep and memory: Sleeping through the performance

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 400 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.82

Author: Sian Lewis

The consolidation of memory traces during sleep for their long-term storage in the cortex has not been demonstrated directly. Maingret et al. trained rats either in a spatial memory task that required consolidation or a task that did not. They found that hippocampo-cortical oscillatory

Neurophysiology: Going with the flow

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 400 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.83

Author: Sian Lewis

The spatial scale over which changes in neural activity influence local blood flow remains under debate. Here, blood vessel diameter and adjacent neuronal spiking activity in the cat visual cortex were monitored simultaneously during exposure of the animal to a range of stimulus orientations. Parenchymal

Learning and memory: Once upon a recent time

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 397 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.84

Author: Natasha Bray

There is greater 'overlap' between the sets of CA1 neurons encoding temporally close memories than of neurons encoding memories temporally spaced apart; such overlap may enable linking of temporally close memories.

Glia: An astrocytic axis

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 398 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.77

Author: Natasha Bray

In experimental autoimmune encephalitis (a mouse model of multiple sclerosis), type I interferons stimulate the production of aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which is activated by diet- and microbe-derived molecules and limits CNS inflammation.

Depression: Breaking down ketamine's actions

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 399 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.73

Author: Katherine Whalley

Ketamine's usefulness as an antidepressant is limited by side effects, including abuse potential and sensory dissociation, and its mechanism of action remains unclear. Here, the authors show that ketamine mediates its antidepressant activity not through NMDA receptor inhibition, as previously assumed, but by boosting AMPA

Neurodevelopmental disorders: Zika virus causes brain defects in mice

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 399 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.74

Author: Katherine Whalley

The Brazilian Zika virus (ZIKVBR) outbreak has been linked to increased incidence of microcephaly; however, in vivo evidence for the effects of ZIKVBR on brain development is lacking. The authors show that pups born to SJL mice infected with ZIKV

Techniques: A CRISPR method of localization

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 399 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.75

Author: Katherine Whalley

Genome editing using the CRISPR–Cas9 system allows the manipulation of specific genes. Mikuni et al. use this approach to insert sequences encoding protein tags into genes of interest in neural progenitors in the embryonic mouse brain, enabling them to map endogenous protein localization in

Neuroendocrinology: Switching on puberty

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 399 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.76

Author: Katherine Whalley

Puberty onset is coordinated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-secreting hypothalamic neurons. Here, the authors show that impairing microRNA (miRNA) synthesis causes hypergonadism and sterility in mice. They find that two key miRNAs — miR-200 and miR-155 — target genes that control the activity of the Gnrh

Neurodegenerative disease: Ever decreasing ripples

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 398 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.71

Author: Sian Lewis

Slow gamma oscillations during sharp-wave ripples in hippocampus are reduced in mice expressing human APOE4 and this is associated with age-related deficits in learning and memory.

Glia: Astrocytic go-betweens

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 400 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.72

Author: Darran Yates

Septal cholinergic neurons inhibit hippocampal granule cells through the activation of hilar astrocytes.

Somatostatin-expressing neurons in cortical networks

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 401 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.53

Authors: Joanna Urban-Ciecko & Alison L. Barth

Somatostatin-expressing GABAergic neurons constitute a major class of inhibitory neurons in the mammalian cortex and are characterized by dense wiring into the local network and high basal firing activity that persists in the absence of synaptic input. This firing provides both GABA type A receptor

The neuroscience of working memory capacity and training

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 438 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.43

Authors: Christos Constantinidis & Torkel Klingberg

Working memory — the ability to maintain and manipulate information over a period of seconds — is a core component of higher cognitive functions. The storage capacity of working memory is limited but can be expanded by training, and evidence of the neural mechanisms underlying

Integrated information theory: from consciousness to its physical substrate

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 450 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.44

Authors: Giulio Tononi, Melanie Boly, Marcello Massimini & Christof Koch

In this Opinion article, we discuss how integrated information theory accounts for several aspects of the relationship between consciousness and the brain. Integrated information theory starts from the essential properties of phenomenal experience, from which it derives the requirements for the physical substrate of consciousness.

Evaluating cell reprogramming, differentiation and conversion technologies in neuroscience

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 424 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.46

Authors: Jerome Mertens, Maria C. Marchetto, Cedric Bardy & Fred H. Gage

The scarcity of live human brain cells for experimental access has for a long time limited our ability to study complex human neurological disorders and elucidate basic neuroscientific mechanisms. A decade ago, the development of methods to reprogramme somatic human cells into induced pluripotent stem

The landscape of DNA methylation amid a perfect storm of autism aetiologies

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 00:00

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, 411 (2016). doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.41

Authors: Annie Vogel Ciernia & Janine LaSalle

Increasing evidence points to a complex interplay between genes and the environment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including rare de novo mutations in chromatin genes such as methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) in Rett syndrome. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation act

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