Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot off the presses! Oct 06 Neuron

The Oct 06 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:

  • Long-Range Intracortical Excitation Shapes Olfactory Processing
    - Neuron 72(1):1-3 (2011)
    Recurrent intracortical connections are believed to be especially dense in the piriform cortex. Two studies in this issue of Neuron report several interesting features of the long-range intracortical connections and reveal their physiological roles in shaping olfactory processing.
  • MeCP2: Phosphorylated Locally, Acting Globally
    - Neuron 72(1):3-5 (2011)
    In this issue of Neuron, Greenberg and colleagues revise our understanding of how activity-dependent MeCP2 phosphorylation regulates distinct aspects of brain development and circuit function. The study also suggests a prominent role for MeCP2 in the regulation of global chromatin state in vivo.
  • Polyrhythms of the Brain
    - Neuron 72(1):6-8 (2011)
    The mechanism by which multiple brain structures interact to support working memory is not yet fully understood. In this issue of Neuron, Fujisawa and Buzs叩ki report that coordinated oscillatory activities between the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and ventral tegmental area (VTA) may be a key neural correlate of working memory.
  • Protease Regulation: The Yin and Yang of Neural Development and Disease
    - Neuron 72(1):9-21 (2011)
    The formation, maintenance, and plasticity of neural circuits rely upon a complex interplay between progressive and regressive events. Increasingly, new functions are being identified for axon guidance molecules in the dynamic processes that occur within the embryonic and adult nervous system. The magnitude, duration, and spatial activity of axon guidance molecule signaling are precisely regulated by a variety of molecular mechanisms. Here we focus on recent progress in understanding the role of protease-mediated cleavage of guidance factors required for directional axon growth, with a particular emphasis on the role of metalloprotease and 粒-secretase. Since axon guidance molecules have also been linked to neural degeneration and regeneration in adults, studies of guidance receptor proteolysis are beginning to define new relationships between neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. These findings raise the possibility that the signaling checkpoints controlled by prot! eases could be useful targets to enhance regeneration.
  • Transcriptional Regulation of Neuronal Polarity and Morphogenesis in the Mammalian Brain
    - Neuron 72(1):22-40 (2011)
    The highly specialized morphology of a neuron, typically consisting of a long axon and multiple branching dendrites, lies at the core of the principle of dynamic polarization, whereby information flows from dendrites toward the soma and to the axon. For more than a century, neuroscientists have been fascinated by how shape is important for neuronal function and how neurons acquire their characteristic morphology. During the past decade, substantial progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of neuronal polarity and morphogenesis. In these studies, transcription factors have emerged as key players governing multiple aspects of neuronal morphogenesis from neuronal polarization and migration to axon growth and pathfinding to dendrite growth and branching to synaptogenesis. In this review, we will highlight the role of transcription factors in shaping neuronal morphology with emphasis on recent literature in mammalian systems.
  • A Major Role for Intracortical Circuits in the Strength and Tuning of Odor-Evoked Excitation in Olfactory Cortex
    - Neuron 72(1):41-48 (2011)
    In primary sensory cortices, there are two main sources of excitation: afferent sensory input relayed from the periphery and recurrent intracortical input. Untangling the functional roles of these two excitatory pathways is fundamental for understanding how cortical neurons process sensory stimuli. Odor representations in the primary olfactory (piriform) cortex depend on excitatory sensory afferents from the olfactory bulb. However, piriform cortex pyramidal cells also receive dense intracortical excitatory connections, and the relative contribution of these two pathways to odor responses is unclear. Using a combination of in vivo whole-cell voltage-clamp recording and selective synaptic silencing, we show that the recruitment of intracortical input, rather than olfactory bulb input, largely determines the strength of odor-evoked excitatory synaptic transmission in rat piriform cortical neurons. Furthermore, we find that intracortical synapses dominate odor-evoked exci! tatory transmission in broadly tuned neurons, whereas bulbar synapses dominate excitatory synaptic responses in more narrowly tuned neurons.
  • Recurrent Circuitry Dynamically Shapes the Activation of Piriform Cortex
    - Neuron 72(1):49-56 (2011)
    In the piriform cortex, individual odorants activate a unique ensemble of neurons that are distributed without discernable spatial order. Piriform neurons receive convergent excitatory inputs from random collections of olfactory bulb glomeruli. Pyramidal cells also make extensive recurrent connections with other excitatory and inhibitory neurons. We introduced channelrhodopsin into the piriform cortex to characterize these intrinsic circuits and to examine their contribution to activity driven by afferent bulbar inputs. We demonstrated that individual pyramidal cells are sparsely interconnected by thousands of excitatory synaptic connections that extend, largely undiminished, across the piriform cortex, forming a large excitatory network that can dominate the bulbar input. Pyramidal cells also activate inhibitory interneurons that mediate strong, local feedback inhibition that scales with excitation. This recurrent network can enhance or suppress bulbar input, dependin! g on whether the input arrives before or after the cortex is activated. This circuitry may shape the ensembles of piriform cells that encode odorant identity.
  • Exogenous α-Synuclein Fibrils Induce Lewy Body Pathology Leading to Synaptic Dysfunction and Neuron Death
    - Neuron 72(1):57-71 (2011)
    Inclusions composed of α-synuclein (α-syn), i.e., Lewy bodies (LBs) and Lewy neurites (LNs), define synucleinopathies including Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Here, we demonstrate that preformed fibrils generated from full-length and truncated recombinant α-syn enter primary neurons, probably by adsorptive-mediated endocytosis, and promote recruitment of soluble endogenous α-syn into insoluble PD-like LBs and LNs. Remarkably, endogenous α-syn was sufficient for formation of these aggregates, and overexpression of wild-type or mutant α-syn was not required. LN-like pathology first developed in axons and propagated to form LB-like inclusions in perikarya. Accumulation of pathologic α-syn led to selective decreases in synaptic proteins, progressive impairments in neuronal excitability and connectivity, and, eventually, neuron death. Thus, our data contribute important insights into the etiology and pathogenesis of PD-lik! e α-syn inclusions and their impact on neuronal functions, and they provide a model for discovering therapeutics targeting pathologic α-syn-mediated neurodegeneration.
  • Genome-Wide Activity-Dependent MeCP2 Phosphorylation Regulates Nervous System Development and Function
    - Neuron 72(1):72-85 (2011)
    Autism spectrum disorders such as Rett syndrome (RTT) have been hypothesized to arise from defects in experience-dependent synapse maturation. RTT is caused by mutations in MECP2, a nuclear protein that becomes phosphorylated at S421 in response to neuronal activation. We show here that disruption of MeCP2 S421 phosphorylation in vivo results in defects in synapse development and behavior, implicating activity-dependent regulation of MeCP2 in brain development and RTT. We investigated the mechanism by which S421 phosphorylation regulates MeCP2 function and show by chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing that this modification occurs on MeCP2 bound across the genome. The phosphorylation of MeCP2 S421 appears not to regulate the expression of specific genes; rather, MeCP2 functions as a histone-like factor whose phosphorylation may facilitate a genome-wide response of chromatin to neuronal activity during nervous system development. We propose that RTT results in part f! rom a loss of this experience-dependent chromatin remodeling.
  • Intrinsic Epigenetic Factors Cooperate with the Steroid Hormone Ecdysone to Govern Dendrite Pruning in Drosophila
    - Neuron 72(1):86-100 (2011)
    Pruning that selectively removes unnecessary axons/dendrites is crucial for sculpting neural circuits during development. During Drosophila metamorphosis, dendritic arborization sensory neurons, ddaCs, selectively prune their larval dendrites in response to the steroid hormone ecdysone. However, it is unknown whether epigenetic factors are involved in dendrite pruning. Here, we analyzed 81 epigenetic factors, from which a Brahma (Brm)-containing chromatin remodeler and a histone acetyltransferase CREB-binding protein (CBP) were identified for their critical roles in initiating dendrite pruning. Brm and CBP specifically activate a key ecdysone response gene, sox14, but not EcR-B1. Furthermore, the HAT activity of CBP is important for sox14 expression and dendrite pruning. EcR-B1 associates with CBP in the presence of ecdysone, which is facilitated by Brm, resulting in local enrichment of an active chromatin mark H3K27Ac at the sox14 locus. Thus, specific intrinsic epige! netic factors cooperate with steroid hormones to activate selective transcriptional programs, thereby initiating neuronal remodeling.
  • Rod Vision Is Controlled by Dopamine-Dependent Sensitization of Rod Bipolar Cells by GABA
    - Neuron 72(1):101-110 (2011)
    Dark and light adaptation of retinal neurons allow our vision to operate over an enormous light intensity range. Here we report a mechanism that controls the light sensitivity and operational range of rod-driven bipolar cells that mediate dim-light vision. Our data indicate that the light responses of these cells are enhanced by sustained chloride currents via GABAC receptor channels. This sensitizing GABAergic input is controlled by dopamine D1 receptors, with horizontal cells serving as a plausible source of GABA release. Our findings expand the role of dopamine in vision from its well-established function of suppressing rod-driven signals in bright light to enhancing the same signals under dim illumination. They further reveal a role for GABA in sensitizing the circuitry for dim-light vision, thereby complementing GABA's traditional role in providing dynamic feedforward and feedback inhibition in the retina.
  • Long-Range Neuronal Circuits Underlying the Interaction between Sensory and Motor Cortex
    - Neuron 72(1):111-123 (2011)
    In the rodent vibrissal system, active sensation and sensorimotor integration are mediated in part by connections between barrel cortex and vibrissal motor cortex. Little is known about how these structures interact at the level of neurons. We used Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) expression, combined with anterograde and retrograde labeling, to map connections between barrel cortex and pyramidal neurons in mouse motor cortex. Barrel cortex axons preferentially targeted upper layer (L2/3, L5A) neurons in motor cortex; input to neurons projecting back to barrel cortex was particularly strong. Barrel cortex input to deeper layers (L5B, L6) of motor cortex, including neurons projecting to the brainstem, was weak, despite pronounced geometric overlap of dendrites with axons from barrel cortex. Neurons in different layers received barrel cortex input within stereotyped dendritic domains. The cortico-cortical neurons in superficial layers of motor cortex thus couple motor and senso! ry signals and might mediate sensorimotor integration and motor learning.
  • Sparse Incomplete Representations: A Potential Role of Olfactory Granule Cells
    - Neuron 72(1):124-136 (2011)
    Mitral/tufted cells of the olfactory bulb receive odorant information from receptor neurons and transmit this information to the cortex. Studies in awake behaving animals have found that sustained responses of mitral cells to odorants are rare, suggesting sparse combinatorial representation of the odorants. Careful alignment of mitral cell firing with the phase of the respiration cycle revealed brief transient activity in the larger population of mitral cells, which respond to odorants during a small fraction of the respiration cycle. Responses of these cells are therefore temporally sparse. Here, we propose a mathematical model for the olfactory bulb network that can reproduce both combinatorially and temporally sparse mitral cell codes. We argue that sparse codes emerge as a result of the balance between mitral cells' excitatory inputs and inhibition provided by the granule cells. Our model suggests functional significance for the dendrodendritic synapses mediating i! nteractions between mitral and granule cells.
  • Coherent Phasic Excitation during Hippocampal Ripples
    - Neuron 72(1):137-152 (2011)
    High-frequency hippocampal network oscillations, or "ripples," are thought to be involved in episodic memory. According to current theories, memory traces are represented by assemblies of principal neurons that are activated during ripple-associated network states. Here we performed in vivo and in vitro experiments to investigate the synaptic mechanisms during ripples. We discovered postsynaptic currents that are phase-locked to ripples and coherent among even distant CA1 pyramidal neurons. These fast currents are consistent with excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) as they are observed at the equilibrium potential of Cl−, and they display kinetics characteristic of EPSCs. Furthermore, they survived after intracellular blockade of GABAergic transmission and are effective to regulate the timing of action potentials. In addition, our data show a progressive synchronization of phasic excitation and inhibition during the course of ripples. Together, our results d! emonstrate the presence of phasic excitation during ripples reflecting an exquisite temporal coordination of assemblies of active pyramidal cells.
  • A 4Â Hz Oscillation Adaptively Synchronizes Prefrontal, VTA, and Hippocampal Activities
    - Neuron 72(1):153-165 (2011)
    Network oscillations support transient communication across brain structures. We show here, in rats, that task-related neuronal activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), the hippocampus, and the ventral tegmental area (VTA), regions critical for working memory, is coordinated by a 4 Hz oscillation. A prominent increase of power and coherence of the 4 Hz oscillation in the PFC and the VTA and its phase modulation of gamma power in both structures was present in the working memory part of the task. Subsets of both PFC and hippocampal neurons predicted the turn choices of the rat. The goal-predicting PFC pyramidal neurons were more strongly phase locked to both 4 Hz and hippocampal theta oscillations than nonpredicting cells. The 4 Hz and theta oscillations were phase coupled and jointly modulated both gamma waves and neuronal spikes in the PFC, the VTA, and the hippocampus. Thus, multiplexed timing mechanisms in the PFC-VTA-hippocampus axis may support processing o! f information, including working memory.
  • Ubiquity and Specificity of Reinforcement Signals throughout the Human Brain
    - Neuron 72(1):166-177 (2011)
    Reinforcements and punishments facilitate adaptive behavior in diverse domains ranging from perception to social interactions. A conventional approach to understanding the corresponding neural substrates focuses on the basal ganglia and its dopaminergic projections. Here, we show that reinforcement and punishment signals are surprisingly ubiquitous in the gray matter of nearly every subdivision of the human brain. Humans played either matching-pennies or rock-paper-scissors games against computerized opponents while being scanned using fMRI. Multivoxel pattern analysis was used to decode previous choices and their outcomes, and to predict upcoming choices. Whereas choices were decodable from a confined set of brain structures, their outcomes were decodable from nearly all cortical and subcortical structures. In addition, signals related to both reinforcements and punishments were recovered reliably in many areas and displayed patterns not consistent with salience-based! explanations. Thus, reinforcement and punishment might play global modulatory roles in the entire brain.
  • Olfactory Predictive Codes and Stimulus Templates in Piriform Cortex
    - Neuron 72(1):178-187 (2011)
    Neuroscientific models of sensory perception suggest that the brain utilizes predictive codes in advance of a stimulus encounter, enabling organisms to infer forthcoming sensory events. However, it is poorly understood how such mechanisms are implemented in the olfactory system. Combining high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging with multivariate (pattern-based) analyses, we examined the spatiotemporal evolution of odor perception in the human brain during an olfactory search task. Ensemble activity patterns in anterior piriform cortex (APC) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) reflected the attended odor target both before and after stimulus onset. In contrast, prestimulus ensemble representations of the odor target in posterior piriform cortex (PPC) gave way to poststimulus representations of the odor itself. Critically, the robustness of target-related patterns in PPC predicted subsequent behavioral performance. Our findings directly show that the brain gener! ates predictive templates or "search images" in PPC, with physical correspondence to odor-specific pattern representations, to augment olfactory perception. Video Abstract View Within Article

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