Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hot off the presses! Mar 24 Neuron

The Mar 24 issue of the Neuron is now up on Pubget (About Neuron): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • Memory, Synapse Stability, and β-Adducin
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1039-1041 (2011)
    In this issue of Neuron, two studies by Pielage et al. and Bednarek and Caroni suggest that the cytoskeleton regulator β-Adducin provides an activity-dependent switch controlling synapse disassembly and assembly at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and the mouse hippocampus. In mice, the β-Adducin switch is required for the improvement of learning and memory induced by enriched environments.
  • Olfactory Bulb: Odor Signals Put into Context
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1041-1042 (2011)
    In this issue, Doucette and colleagues demonstrate that information related to whether an odor is currently linked to reward can be observed uniquely in population activity in the olfactory bulb, changing our understanding both of what is coded by the first olfactory relay in the CNS and of how this coding is instantiated.
  • Martinotti Cells: Community Organizers
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1042-1045 (2011)
    The specificity of connections made by inhibitory interneurons in the neocortex is not well understood. In this issue of Neuron, Fino and Yuste (2011) use an enhanced version of two-photon glutamate uncaging, which preserves inhibitory synaptic transmission, to demonstrate that somatostatin-positive interneurons form densely convergent connections onto pyramidal cells in layer 2/3 of mouse frontal cortex.
  • Cilia in the CNS: The Quiet Organelle Claims Center Stage
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1046-1060 (2011)
    The primary cilium is a cellular organelle that is almost ubiquitous in eukaryotes, yet its functions in vertebrates have been slow to emerge. The last fifteen years have been marked by accelerating insight into the biology of primary cilia, arising from the synergy of three major lines of research. These research programs describe a specialized mode of protein trafficking in cilia, reveal that genetic disruptions of primary cilia cause complex human disease syndromes, and establish that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signal transduction requires the primary cilium. New lines of research have branched off to investigate the role of primary cilia in neuronal signaling, adult neurogenesis, and brain tumor formation. We review a fast expanding literature to determine what we now know about the primary cilium in the developing and adult CNS and what new directions should lead to further clarity.
  • Effects and Mechanisms of Wakefulness on Local Cortical Networks
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1061-1068 (2011)
    Mammalian brains generate internal activity independent of environmental stimuli. Internally generated states may bring about distinct cortical processing modes. To investigate how brain state impacts cortical circuitry, we recorded intracellularly from the same neurons, under anesthesia and subsequent wakefulness, in rat barrel cortex. In every cell examined throughout layers 2–6, wakefulness produced a temporal pattern of synaptic inputs differing markedly from those under anesthesia. Recurring periods of synaptic quiescence, prominent under anesthesia, were abolished by wakefulness, which produced instead a persistently depolarized state. This switch in dynamics was unaffected by elimination of afferent synaptic input from thalamus, suggesting that arousal alters cortical dynamics by neuromodulators acting directly on cortex. Indeed, blockade of noradrenergic, but not cholinergic, pathways induced synaptic quiescence during wakefulness. We conclude that global bra! in states can switch local recurrent networks into different regimes via direct neuromodulation.
  • Proneural Transcription Factors Regulate Different Steps of Cortical Neuron Migration through Rnd-Mediated Inhibition of RhoA Signaling
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1069-1084 (2011)
    Little is known of the intracellular machinery that controls the motility of newborn neurons. We have previously shown that the proneural protein Neurog2 promotes the migration of nascent cortical neurons by inducing the expression of the atypical Rho GTPase Rnd2. Here, we show that another proneural factor, Ascl1, promotes neuronal migration in the cortex through direct regulation of a second Rnd family member, Rnd3. Both Rnd2 and Rnd3 promote neuronal migration by inhibiting RhoA signaling, but they control distinct steps of the migratory process, multipolar to bipolar transition in the intermediate zone and locomotion in the cortical plate, respectively. Interestingly, these divergent functions directly result from the distinct subcellular distributions of the two Rnd proteins. Because Rnd proteins also regulate progenitor divisions and neurite outgrowth, we propose that proneural factors, through spatiotemporal regulation of Rnd proteins, integrate the process of n! euronal migration with other events in the neurogenic program.
  • Slit2 Activity in the Migration of Guidepost Neurons Shapes Thalamic Projections during Development and Evolution
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1085-1098 (2011)
    How brain connectivity has evolved to integrate the mammalian-specific neocortex remains largely unknown. Here, we address how dorsal thalamic axons, which constitute the main input to the neocortex, are directed internally to their evolutionary novel target in mammals, though they follow an external path to other targets in reptiles and birds. Using comparative studies and functional experiments in chick, we show that local species-specific differences in the migration of previously identified "corridor" guidepost neurons control the opening of a mammalian thalamocortical route. Using in vivo and ex vivo experiments in mice, we further demonstrate that the midline repellent Slit2 orients migration of corridor neurons and thereby switches thalamic axons from an external to a mammalian-specific internal path. Our study reveals that subtle differences in the migration of conserved intermediate target neurons trigger large-scale changes in thalamic connectivity, and o! pens perspectives on Slit functions and the evolution of brain wiring.
  • Temperature, Oxygen, and Salt-Sensing Neurons in C. elegans Are Carbon Dioxide Sensors that Control Avoidance Behavior
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1099-1113 (2011)
    Homeostatic control of body fluid CO2 is essential in animals but is poorly understood. C. elegans relies on diffusion for gas exchange and avoids environments with elevated CO2. We show that C. elegans temperature, O2, and salt-sensing neurons are also CO2 sensors mediating CO2 avoidance. AFD thermosensors respond to increasing CO2 by a fall and then rise in Ca2+ and show a Ca2+ spike when CO2 decreases. BAG O2 sensors and ASE salt sensors are both activated by CO2 and remain tonically active while high CO2 persists. CO2-evoked Ca2+ responses in AFD and BAG neurons require cGMP-gated ion channels. Atypical soluble guanylate cyclases mediating O2 responses also contribute to BAG CO2 responses. AFD and BAG neurons together stimulate turning when CO2 rises and inhibit turning when CO2 falls. Our results show that C. elegans senses CO2 using functionally diverse sensory neurons acting homeostatically to minimize exposure to elevated CO2.
  • Hts/Adducin Controls Synaptic Elaboration and Elimination
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1114-1131 (2011)
    Neural development requires both synapse elaboration and elimination, yet relatively little is known about how these opposing activities are coordinated. Here, we provide evidence Hts/Adducin can serve this function. We show that Drosophila Hts/Adducin is enriched both pre- and postsynaptically at the NMJ. We then demonstrate that presynaptic Hts/Adducin is necessary and sufficient to control two opposing processes associated with synapse remodeling: (1) synapse stabilization as determined by light level and ultrastructural and electrophysiological assays and (2) the elaboration of actin-based, filopodia-like protrusions that drive synaptogenesis and growth. Synapse remodeling is sensitive to Hts/Adducin levels, and we provide evidence that the synaptic localization of Hts/Adducin is controlled via phosphorylation. Mechanistically, Drosophila Hts/Adducin protein has actin-capping activity. We propose that phosphorylation-dependent regulation of Hts/Adducin controls the! level, localization, and activity of Hts/Adducin, influencing actin-based synapse elaboration and spectrin-based synapse stabilization. Hts/Adducin may define a mechanism to switch between synapse stability and dynamics.
  • β-Adducin Is Required for Stable Assembly of New Synapses and Improved Memory upon Environmental Enrichment
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1132-1146 (2011)
    Learning is correlated with the assembly of new synapses, but the roles of synaptogenesis processes in memory are poorly understood. Here, we show that mice lacking β-Adducin fail to assemble new synapses upon enhanced plasticity and exhibit diminished long-term hippocampal memory upon environmental enrichment. Enrichment-enhanced the disassembly and assembly of dynamic subpopulations of synapses. Upon enrichment, stable assembly of new synapses depended on the presence of β-Adducin, disassembly involved β-Adducin phosphorylation through PKC, and both were required for augmented learning. In the absence of β-Adducin, enrichment still led to an increase in spine structures, but the assembly of synapses at those spines was compromised. Virus-mediated re-expression of β-Adducin in hippocampal granule cells of β-Adducin−/− mice rescued new synapse assembly and learning upon enrichment. Our results provide evidence that synapse disassembly and the establishment of! new synapses are both critically important for augmented long-term learning and memory upon environmental enrichment.
  • Interplay between VGLUT Isoforms and Endophilin A1 Regulates Neurotransmitter Release and Short-Term Plasticity
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1147-1159 (2011)
    Vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs) are essential for filling synaptic vesicles with glutamate and mammals express three VGLUT isoforms (VGLUT1–3) with distinct spatiotemporal expression patterns. Here, we find that neurons expressing VGLUT1 have lower release probability and less short-term depression than neurons expressing VGLUT2 or VGLUT3. Investigation of the underlying mechanism identified endophilin A1 as a positive regulator of exocytosis whose expression levels are positively correlated with release efficiency and showed that the differences in release efficiency between VGLUT1- and VGLUT2-expressing neurons are due to VGLUT1's ability to bind endophilin A1 and inhibit endophilin-induced enhancement of release probability. Video Abstract To view the video inline, enable JavaScript on your browser. However, you can download and view the video by clicking on the icon below Download this Video (14804 K)
  • Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Sparse Coding of Active Touch
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1160-1175 (2011)
    Sensory information is actively gathered by animals, but the synaptic mechanisms driving neuronal circuit function during active sensory processing are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the synaptically driven membrane potential dynamics during active whisker sensation using whole-cell recordings from layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the primary somatosensory barrel cortex of behaving mice. Although whisker contact with an object evoked rapid depolarization in all neurons, these touch responses only drove action potentials in 10% of the cells. Such sparse coding was ensured by cell-specific reversal potentials of the touch-evoked response that were hyperpolarized relative to action potential threshold for most neurons. Intercontact interval profoundly influenced touch-evoked postsynaptic potentials, interestingly without affecting the peak membrane potential of the touch response. Dual whole-cell recordings indicated highly correlated membrane potential dynamics d! uring active touch. Sparse action potential firing within synchronized cortical layer 2/3 microcircuits therefore appears to robustly signal each active touch response.
  • Associative Cortex Features in the First Olfactory Brain Relay Station
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1176-1187 (2011)
    Synchronized firing of mitral cells (MCs) in the olfactory bulb (OB) has been hypothesized to help bind information together in olfactory cortex (OC). In this survey of synchronized firing by suspected MCs in awake, behaving vertebrates, we find the surprising result that synchronized firing conveys information on odor value ("Is it rewarded?") rather than odor identity ("What is the odor?"). We observed that as mice learned to discriminate between odors, synchronous firing responses to the rewarded and unrewarded odors became divergent. Furthermore, adrenergic blockage decreases the magnitude of odor divergence of synchronous trains, suggesting that MCs contribute to decision-making through adrenergic-modulated synchronized firing. Thus, in the olfactory system information on stimulus reward is found in MCs one synapse away from the sensory neuron.
  • Dense Inhibitory Connectivity in Neocortex
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1188-1203 (2011)
    The connectivity diagram of neocortical circuits is still unknown, and there are conflicting data as to whether cortical neurons are wired specifically or not. To investigate the basic structure of cortical microcircuits, we use a two-photon photostimulation technique that enables the systematic mapping of synaptic connections with single-cell resolution. We map the inhibitory connectivity between upper layers somatostatin-positive GABAergic interneurons and pyramidal cells in mouse frontal cortex. Most, and sometimes all, inhibitory neurons are locally connected to every sampled pyramidal cell. This dense inhibitory connectivity is found at both young and mature developmental ages. Inhibitory innervation of neighboring pyramidal cells is similar, regardless of whether they are connected among themselves or not. We conclude that local inhibitory connectivity is promiscuous, does not form subnetworks, and can approach the theoretical limit of a completely connected syna! ptic matrix.
  • Model-Based Influences on Humans' Choices and Striatal Prediction Errors
    - Neuron (Cambridge Mass ) 69(6):1204-1215 (2011)
    The mesostriatal dopamine system is prominently implicated in model-free reinforcement learning, with fMRI BOLD signals in ventral striatum notably covarying with model-free prediction errors. However, latent learning and devaluation studies show that behavior also shows hallmarks of model-based planning, and the interaction between model-based and model-free values, prediction errors, and preferences is underexplored. We designed a multistep decision task in which model-based and model-free influences on human choice behavior could be distinguished. By showing that choices reflected both influences we could then test the purity of the ventral striatal BOLD signal as a model-free report. Contrary to expectations, the signal reflected both model-free and model-based predictions in proportions matching those that best explained choice behavior. These results challenge the notion of a separate model-free learner and suggest a more integrated computational architecture for! high-level human decision-making.

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