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Current Biology: CB

Jonathan J Wilson, Nicolas Alexandre, Caterina Trentin, Marco Tripodi
From the act of exploring an environment to that of grasping a cup of tea, animals must put in register their motor acts with their surrounding space. In the motor domain, this is likely to be defined by a register of three-dimensional (3D) displacement vectors, whose recruitment allows motion in the direction of a target. One such spatially targeted action is seen in the head reorientation behavior of mice, yet the neural mechanisms underlying these 3D behaviors remain unknown. Here, by developing a head-mounted inertial sensor for studying 3D head rotations and combining it with electrophysiological recordings, we show that neurons in the mouse superior colliculus are either individually or conjunctively tuned to the three Eulerian components of head rotation...
May 15, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Tiago Marques, Mathew T Summers, Gabriela Fioreze, Marina Fridman, Rodrigo F Dias, Marla B Feller, Leopoldo Petreanu
Visual motion is an ethologically important stimulus throughout the animal kingdom. In primates, motion perception relies on specific higher-order cortical regions. Although mouse primary visual cortex (V1) and higher-order visual areas show direction-selective (DS) responses, their role in motion perception remains unknown. Here, we tested whether V1 is involved in motion perception in mice. We developed a head-fixed discrimination task in which mice must report their perceived direction of motion from random dot kinematograms (RDKs)...
May 12, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Ignacio Flor-Parra, Ana Belén Iglesias-Romero, Fred Chang
The organization and number of microtubules (MTs) in a cell depend on the proper regulation of MT nucleation. Currently, the mechanism of nucleation is the most poorly understood aspect of MT dynamics. XMAP215/chTOG/Alp14/Stu2 proteins are MT polymerases that stimulate MT polymerization at MT plus ends by binding and releasing tubulin dimers. Although these proteins also localize to MT organizing centers and have nucleating activity in vitro, it is not yet clear whether these proteins participate in MT nucleation in vivo...
May 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Erik Mire, Mélanie Hocine, Elsa Bazellières, Thomas Jungas, Alice Davy, Sophie Chauvet, Fanny Mann
The corpus callosum is the largest commissure in the brain, whose main function is to ensure communication between homotopic regions of the cerebral cortex. During fetal development, corpus callosum axons (CCAs) grow toward and across the brain midline and then away on the contralateral hemisphere to their targets. A particular feature of this circuit, which raises a key developmental question, is that the outgoing trajectory of post-crossing CCAs is mirror-symmetric with the incoming trajectory of pre-crossing axons...
May 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Ryan E Harvey, Stephanie A Rutan, Gabrielle R Willey, Jennifer J Siegel, Benjamin J Clark, Ryan M Yoder
The vestibular system provides a crucial component of place-cell and head-direction cell activity [1-7]. Otolith signals are necessary for head-direction signal stability and associated behavior [8, 9], and the head-direction signal's contribution to parahippocampal spatial representations [10-14] suggests that place cells may also require otolithic information. Here, we demonstrate that self-movement information from the otolith organs is necessary for the development of stable place fields within and across sessions...
May 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Alice Pavlowsky, Johann Schor, Pierre-Yves Plaçais, Thomas Preat
Memory consolidation is a crucial step for long-term memory (LTM) storage. However, we still lack a clear picture of how memory consolidation is regulated at the neuronal circuit level. Here, we took advantage of the well-described anatomy of the Drosophila olfactory memory center, the mushroom body (MB), to address this question in the context of appetitive LTM. The MB lobes, which are made by the fascicled axons of the MB intrinsic neurons, are organized into discrete anatomical modules, each covered by the terminals of a defined type of dopaminergic neuron (DAN) and the dendrites of a corresponding type of MB output neuron (MBON)...
May 9, 2018: Current Biology: CB
James H Catterson, Mobina Khericha, Miranda C Dyson, Alec J Vincent, Rebecca Callard, Steven M Haveron, Arjunan Rajasingam, Mumtaz Ahmad, Linda Partridge
Intermittent fasting (IF) can improve function and health during aging in laboratory model organisms, but the mechanisms at work await elucidation. We subjected fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to varying degrees of IF and found that just one month of a 2-day fed:5-day fasted IF regime at the beginning of adulthood was sufficient to extend lifespan. This long-lasting, beneficial effect of early IF was not due to reduced fecundity. Starvation resistance and resistance to oxidative and xenobiotic stress were increased after IF...
May 8, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Chenghao Chen, Min Xu, Yuto Anantaprakorn, Mechthild Rosing, Ralf Stanewsky
Circadian clocks organize biological processes to occur at optimized times of day and thereby contribute to overall fitness. While the regular daily changes of environmental light and temperature synchronize circadian clocks, extreme external conditions can bypass the temporal constraints dictated by the clock. Despite advanced knowledge about how the daily light-dark changes synchronize the clock, relatively little is known with regard to how the daily temperature changes influence daily timing and how temperature and light signals are integrated...
May 8, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Lisa J Funkhouser-Jones, Edward J van Opstal, Ananya Sharma, Seth R Bordenstein
Maternal transmission of intracellular microbes is pivotal in establishing long-term, intimate symbioses. For germline microbes that exert negative reproductive effects on their hosts, selection can theoretically favor the spread of host genes that counteract the microbe's harmful effects. Here, we leverage a major difference in bacterial (Wolbachia pipientis) titers between closely related wasp species with forward genetic, transcriptomic, and cytological approaches to map two quantitative trait loci that suppress bacterial titers via a maternal effect...
May 4, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Hongxia Wang, Richard B Dewell, Ying Zhu, Fabrizio Gabbiani
Feedforward inhibition is ubiquitous as a motif in the organization of neuronal circuits. During sensory information processing, it is traditionally thought to sharpen the responses and temporal tuning of feedforward excitation onto principal neurons. As it often exhibits complex time-varying activation properties, feedforward inhibition could also convey information used by single neurons to implement dendritic computations on sensory stimulus variables. We investigated this possibility in a collision-detecting neuron of the locust optic lobe that receives both feedforward excitation and inhibition...
May 4, 2018: Current Biology: CB
R Ewan Fordyce, Felix G Marx
Baleen whales (Mysticeti) are the largest animals on Earth, thanks to their ability to filter huge volumes of small prey from seawater. Mysticetes appeared during the Late Eocene, but evidence of their early evolution remains both sparse and controversial [1, 2], with several models competing to explain the origin of baleen-based bulk feeding [3-6]. Here, we describe a virtually complete skull of Llanocetus denticrenatus, the second-oldest (ca. 34 Ma) mysticete known. The new material represents the same individual as the type and only specimen, a fragmentary mandible...
May 4, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Katherine Cumnock, Avni S Gupta, Michelle Lissner, Victoria Chevee, Nicole M Davis, David S Schneider
Pathologic infections are accompanied by a collection of short-term behavioral perturbations collectively termed sickness behaviors [1, 2]. These include changes in body temperature, reduced eating and drinking, and lethargy and mimic behaviors of animals in torpor and hibernation [1, 3-6]. Sickness behaviors are important, pathogen-specific components of the host response to infection [1, 3, 7-9]. In particular, host anorexia has been shown to be beneficial or detrimental depending on the infection [7, 8]...
May 4, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Yi Ding, Masako Kaido, Elena Llano, Alberto M Pendas, Tomoya S Kitajima
The production of haploid gametes requires the maintenance of centromeric cohesion between sister chromatids through the transition between two successive meiotic divisions, meiosis I and meiosis II. One mechanism for the cohesion maintenance is shugoshin-dependent protection of centromeric cohesin at anaphase I onset [1-3]. However, how centromeric cohesion is maintained during late anaphase I and telophase I, when centromeric shugoshin is undetectable [1-3], remains largely unexplored. Here we show that the centromeric small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) pathway is critical for the maintenance of centromeric cohesion during post-anaphase-I periods in mouse oocytes...
May 3, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Sean Sloan, Jatna Supriatna, Mason J Campbell, Mohammed Alamgir, William F Laurance
Nater, et al.[1] recently identified a new orangutan species (Pongo tapanuliensis) in northern Sumatra, Indonesia-just the seventh described species of living great ape. The population of this critically-endangered species is perilously small, at only ∼800 individuals [1], ranking it among the planet's rarest fauna. We assert that P. tapanuliensis is highly vulnerable to extinction because its remaining habitat is small, fragmented, and poorly protected. While road incursions within its habitat are modest-road density is only one-eighth that of northern Sumatra-over one-fifth of its habitat is zoned for agricultural conversion or is comprised of mosaic agricultural and regrowth/degraded forest...
May 2, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Ashwin Miriyala, Sébastien Kessler, F Claire Rind, Geraldine A Wright
Animals detect changes in the environment using modality-specific, peripheral sensory neurons. The insect gustatory system encodes tastant identity and concentration through the independent firing of gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) that spike rapidly at stimulus onset and quickly adapt. Here, we show the first evidence that concentrated sugar evokes a temporally structured burst pattern of spiking involving two GRNs within the gustatory sensilla of bumblebees. Bursts of spikes resulted when a sucrose-activated GRN was inhibited by another GRN at a frequency of ∼22 Hz during the first 1 s of stimulation...
May 1, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Maite Ogueta, Roger C Hardie, Ralf Stanewsky
The daily light-dark cycles represent a key signal for synchronizing circadian clocks. Both insects and mammals possess dedicated "circadian" photoreceptors but also utilize the visual system for clock resetting. In Drosophila, circadian clock resetting is achieved by the blue-light photoreceptor cryptochrome (CRY), which is expressed within subsets of the brain clock neurons. In addition, rhodopsin-expressing photoreceptor cells contribute to light synchronization. Light resets the molecular clock by CRY-dependent degradation of the clock protein Timeless (TIM), although in specific subsets of key circadian pacemaker neurons, including the small ventral lateral neurons (s-LNvs), TIM and Period (PER) oscillations can be synchronized by light independent of CRY and canonical visual Rhodopsin phototransduction...
April 30, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Michelle K Biederman, Megan M Nelson, Kathryn C Asalone, Alyssa L Pedersen, Colin J Saldanha, John R Bracht
Developmentally programmed genome rearrangements are rare in vertebrates, but have been reported in scattered lineages including the bandicoot, hagfish, lamprey, and zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) [1]. In the finch, a well-studied animal model for neuroendocrinology and vocal learning [2], one such programmed genome rearrangement involves a germline-restricted chromosome, or GRC, which is found in germlines of both sexes but eliminated from mature sperm [3, 4]. Transmitted only through the oocyte, it displays uniparental female-driven inheritance, and early in embryonic development is apparently eliminated from all somatic tissue in both sexes [3, 4]...
April 28, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Jennifer Senkler, Nils Rugen, Holger Eubel, Jan Hegermann, Hans-Peter Braun
The mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system, which is based on the presence of five protein complexes, is in the very center of cellular ATP production. Complexes I to IV are components of the respiratory electron transport chain that drives proton translocation across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The resulting proton gradient is used by complex V (the ATP synthase complex) for the phosphorylation of ADP. Occurrence of complexes I to V is highly conserved in eukaryotes, with exceptions being restricted to unicellular parasites that take up energy-rich compounds from their hosts...
April 27, 2018: Current Biology: CB
S Joseph Endicott, Martina Brueckner
The primary cilium maintains a well-regulated complement of soluble and membrane proteins, allowing it to mediate a variety of signaling pathways that are essential for development and tissue homeostasis [1-3]. Entry into the cilium is regulated at the base, where a complex containing nucleoporins, referred to as the "ciliary pore complex" (CPC), has been proposed to set a size-exclusion limit for soluble molecule diffusion into the cilium [4-6]. Here, using a fluorescence-based diffusion trap system, we demonstrate that NUP98, a component of the phenylalanine-glycine (FG) hydrogel permeability barrier at the nuclear pore complex [7, 8], limits the diffusion of soluble molecules >70 kDa into the cilium in cultured mammalian cells...
April 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Junyi Chen, Kamila Kalinowska, Benedikt Müller, Julia Mergner, Rainer Deutzmann, Claus Schwechheimer, Ulrich Z Hammes, Thomas Dresselhaus
Embryogenesis in flowering plants is initiated by an asymmetric zygote division, generating two daughter cells that are the precursors of different cell lineages. Little is known about the molecular players regulating activation and progression of zygote development, establishment of asymmetry, and the plant-specific process of cell-plate formation. Here, we report the function of the ubiquitin-like modifier DiSUMO-LIKE (DSUL) for early embryo development in maize. Introducing a DSUL-RNAi construct by sperm cells affects cytokinesis generating non-separated zygotic daughter nuclei or multinucleate embryonic cells lacking cell plates...
April 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
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