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Annual Review of Neuroscience

Timothy E Holy
In mammals, the accessory olfactory system is a distinct circuit that has received attention for its role in detecting and responding to pheromones. While the neuroscientific investigation of this system is comparatively new, recent advances and its compact size have made it an attractive model for developing an end-to-end understanding of such questions as regulation of essential behaviors, plasticity, and individual recognition. Recent discoveries have indicated a need to reevaluate our conception of this system, suggesting that (a) physical principles-rather than biological necessity-play an underappreciated role in its raison d'être and that (b) the anatomy of downstream projections is not dominated by unique specializations but instead consists of an abbreviated cortical/basal ganglia motif reminiscent of other sensorimotor systems...
May 4, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Sheena A Josselyn, Paul W Frankland
Memories for events are thought to be represented in sparse, distributed neuronal ensembles (or engrams). In this article, we review how neurons are chosen to become part of a particular engram, via a process of neuronal allocation. Experiments in rodents indicate that eligible neurons compete for allocation to a given engram, with more excitable neurons winning this competition. Moreover, fluctuations in neuronal excitability determine how engrams interact, promoting either memory integration (via coallocation to overlapping engrams) or separation (via disallocation to nonoverlapping engrams)...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Scott W Emmons
The recently determined connectome of the Caenorhabditis elegans adult male, together with the known connectome of the hermaphrodite, opens up the possibility for a comprehensive description of sexual dimorphism in this species and the identification and study of the neural circuits underlying sexual behaviors. The C. elegans nervous system consists of 294 neurons shared by both sexes plus neurons unique to each sex, 8 in the hermaphrodite and 91 in the male. The sex-specific neurons are well integrated within the remainder of the nervous system; in the male, 16% of the input to the shared component comes from male-specific neurons...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Jan-Marino Ramirez, Nathan A Baertsch
Rhythmicity is a universal timing mechanism in the brain, and the rhythmogenic mechanisms are generally dynamic. This is illustrated for the neuronal control of breathing, a behavior that occurs as a one-, two-, or three-phase rhythm. Each breath is assembled stochastically, and increasing evidence suggests that each phase can be generated independently by a dedicated excitatory microcircuit. Within each microcircuit, rhythmicity emerges through three entangled mechanisms: (a) glutamatergic transmission, which is amplified by (b) intrinsic bursting and opposed by (c) concurrent inhibition...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Sonia J Bishop, Christopher Gagne
In everyday life, the outcomes of our actions are rarely certain. Further, we often lack the information needed to precisely estimate the probability and value of potential outcomes as well as how much effort will be required by the courses of action under consideration. Under such conditions of uncertainty, individual differences in the estimation and weighting of these variables, and in reliance on model-free versus model-based decision making, have the potential to strongly influence our behavior. Both anxiety and depression are associated with difficulties in decision making...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Siegfried Weisenburger, Alipasha Vaziri
The mammalian brain is a densely interconnected network that consists of millions to billions of neurons. Decoding how information is represented and processed by this neural circuitry requires the ability to capture and manipulate the dynamics of large populations at high speed and high resolution over a large area of the brain. Although the use of optical approaches by the neuroscience community has rapidly increased over the past two decades, most microscopy approaches are unable to record the activity of all neurons comprising a functional network across the mammalian brain at relevant temporal and spatial resolutions...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Claire N Bedbrook, Benjamin E Deverman, Viviana Gradinaru
Recombinant viruses allow for targeted transgene expression in specific cell populations throughout the nervous system. The adeno-associated virus (AAV) is among the most commonly used viruses for neuroscience research. Recombinant AAVs (rAAVs) are highly versatile and can package most cargo composed of desired genes within the capsid's ∼5-kb carrying capacity. Numerous regulatory elements and intersectional strategies have been validated in rAAVs to enable cell type-specific expression. rAAVs can be delivered to specific neuronal populations or globally throughout the animal...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Ryan T Roemmich, Amy J Bastian
The fields of human motor control, motor learning, and neurorehabilitation have long been linked by the intuition that understanding how we move (and learn to move) leads to better rehabilitation. In reality, these fields have remained largely separate. Our knowledge of the neural control of movement has expanded, but principles that can directly impact rehabilitation efficacy remain somewhat sparse. This raises two important questions: What can basic studies of motor learning really tell us about rehabilitation, and are we asking the right questions to improve the lives of patients? This review aims to contextualize recent advances in computational and behavioral studies of human motor learning within the framework of neurorehabilitation...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Hannah R Monday, Thomas J Younts, Pablo E Castillo
Long-lasting changes of brain function in response to experience rely on diverse forms of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Chief among them are long-term potentiation and long-term depression of neurotransmitter release, which are widely expressed by excitatory and inhibitory synapses throughout the central nervous system and can dynamically regulate information flow in neural circuits. This review article explores recent advances in presynaptic long-term plasticity mechanisms and contributions to circuit function...
April 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Jaiprakash Sharma, Alberto di Ronza, Parisa Lotfi, Marco Sardiello
One of the fundamental properties of the cell is the capability to digest and remodel its own components according to metabolic and developmental needs. This is accomplished via the autophagy-lysosome system, a pathway of critical importance in the brain, where it contributes to neuronal plasticity and must protect nonreplaceable neurons from the potentially harmful accumulation of cellular waste. The study of lysosomal biogenesis and function in the context of common and rare neurodegenerative diseases has revealed that a dysfunctional autophagy-lysosome system is the shared nexus where multiple, interconnected pathogenic events take place...
April 16, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Jun Wang, Alexandra Garancher, Vijay Ramaswamy, Robert J Wechsler-Reya
Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death in children, and medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Advances in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have improved the survival of MB patients. But despite these advances, 25-30% of patients still die from the disease, and survivors suffer severe long-term side effects from the aggressive therapies they receive. Although MB is often considered a single disease, molecular profiling has revealed a significant degree of heterogeneity, and there is a growing consensus that MB consists of multiple subgroups with distinct driver mutations, cells of origin, and prognosis...
April 11, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Ragnihldur T Káradóttir, Chay T Kuo
The addition of new neurons and oligodendroglia in the postnatal and adult mammalian brain presents distinct forms of gray and white matter plasticity. Substantial effort has been devoted to understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling postnatal neurogenesis and gliogenesis, revealing important parallels to principles governing the embryonic stages. While during central nervous system development, scripted temporal and spatial patterns of neural and glial progenitor proliferation and differentiation are necessary to create the nervous system architecture, it remains unclear what driving forces maintain and sustain postnatal neural stem cell (NSC) and oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) production of new neurons and glia...
April 4, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Kenneth S Kosik, Tomasz Nowakowski
The noncoding portion of the genome, including microRNAs, has been fertile evolutionary soil for cortical development in primates. A major contribution to cortical expansion in primates is the generation of novel precursor cell populations. Because miRNA expression profiles track closely with cell identity, it is likely that numerous novel microRNAs have contributed to cellular diversity in the brain. The tools to determine the genomic context within which novel microRNAs emerge and how they become integrated into molecular circuitry are now in hand...
April 4, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Rajeev V Rikhye, Ralf D Wimmer, Michael M Halassa
The thalamus has long been suspected to have an important role in cognition, yet recent theories have favored a more corticocentric view. According to this view, the thalamus is an excitatory feedforward relay to or between cortical regions, and cognitively relevant computations are exclusively cortical. Here, we review anatomical, physiological, and behavioral studies along evolutionary and theoretical dimensions, arguing for essential and unique thalamic computations in cognition. Considering their architectural features as well as their ability to initiate, sustain, and switch cortical activity, thalamic circuits appear uniquely suited for computing contextual signals that rapidly reconfigure task-relevant cortical representations...
April 4, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Marco K Wittmann, Patricia L Lockwood, Matthew F S Rushworth
Activity in a network of areas spanning the superior temporal sulcus, dorsomedial frontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex is concerned with how nonhuman primates negotiate the social worlds in which they live. Central aspects of these circuits are retained in humans. Activity in these areas codes for primates' interactions with one another, their attempts to find out about one another, and their attempts to prevent others from finding out too much about themselves. Moreover, important features of the social world, such as dominance status, cooperation, and competition, modulate activity in these areas...
March 21, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Terence D Sanger
Dystonia is a collection of symptoms with involuntary muscle activation causing hypertonia, hyperkinetic movements, and overflow. In children, dystonia can have numerous etiologies with varying neuroanatomic distribution. The semiology of dystonia can be explained by gain-of-function failure of a feedback controller that is responsible for stabilizing posture and movement. Because postural control is maintained by a widely distributed network, many different anatomic regions may be responsible for symptoms of dystonia, although all features of dystonia can be explained by uncontrolled activation or hypersensitivity of motor cortical regions that can cause increased reflex gain, inserted postures, or sensitivity to irrelevant sensory variables...
February 28, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Cassandra Sampaio-Baptista, Zeena-Britt Sanders, Heidi Johansen-Berg
The development of advanced noninvasive techniques to image the human brain has enabled the demonstration of structural plasticity during adulthood in response to motor learning. Understanding the basic mechanisms of structural plasticity in the context of motor learning is essential to improve motor rehabilitation in stroke patients. Here, we review and discuss the emerging evidence for motor-learning-related structural plasticity and the implications for stroke rehabilitation. In the clinical context, a few studies have started to assess the effects of rehabilitation on structural measures to understand recovery poststroke and additionally to predict intervention outcomes...
February 28, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Kellen D Winden, Darius Ebrahimi-Fakhari, Mustafa Sahin
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an important signaling hub that integrates environmental information regarding energy availability and stimulates anabolic molecular processes and cell growth. Abnormalities in this pathway have been identified in several syndromes in which autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is highly prevalent. Several studies have investigated mTOR signaling in developmental and neuronal processes that, when dysregulated, could contribute to the development of ASD. Although many potential mechanisms still remain to be fully understood, these associations are of great interest because of the clinical availability of mTOR inhibitors...
January 25, 2018: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Alexander C Huk, Leor N Katz, Jacob L Yates
Over the past two decades, neurophysiological responses in the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) have received extensive study for insight into decision making. In a parallel manner, inferred cognitive processes have enriched interpretations of LIP activity. Because of this bidirectional interplay between physiology and cognition, LIP has served as fertile ground for developing quantitative models that link neural activity with decision making. These models stand as some of the most important frameworks for linking brain and mind, and they are now mature enough to be evaluated in finer detail and integrated with other lines of investigation of LIP function...
July 25, 2017: Annual Review of Neuroscience
Tania A Seabrook, Timothy J Burbridge, Michael C Crair, Andrew D Huberman
Vision is the sense humans rely on most to navigate the world, make decisions, and perform complex tasks. Understanding how humans see thus represents one of the most fundamental and important goals of neuroscience. The use of the mouse as a model for parsing how vision works at a fundamental level started approximately a decade ago, ushered in by the mouse's convenient size, relatively low cost, and, above all, amenability to genetic perturbations. In the course of that effort, a large cadre of new and powerful tools for in vivo labeling, monitoring, and manipulation of neurons were applied to this species...
July 25, 2017: Annual Review of Neuroscience
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