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Current Biology: CB

Zhenli Huang, Luhai Wang
Dams are considered to be a serious threat to migratory fish on a global scale. Most of the world's rivers have been dammed, including those containing hotspots of fish diversity [1-3]. The mechanism by which dams affect fish is unclear and has often led to an underestimation of their cumulative and far-reaching adverse effects. Remedial measures of fish rescue for existing dams, including fish passage facilities and restocking, are insufficient or inefficient [1]. Although small and old dams are increasingly being removed, it is clearly unrealistic to demolish large, multi-section dams [4]...
November 1, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Mike McWilliam, Tory J Chase, Mia O Hoogenboom
Sustaining ecological functions as biodiversity changes will be a major challenge in the 21st century [1]. However, our understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function is still emerging on tropical coral reefs [2], where reef-building corals form highly productive assemblages [3, 4] and species respond in different ways to their neighbors [5] and their environment (e.g., water flow) [6]. Experimental coral communities were assembled to quantify the performance of coral colonies with and without neighbors and in the presence of conspecifics versus heterospecifics...
October 29, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Kevin M Swift, Brooks A Gross, Michelle A Frazer, David S Bauer, Kyle J D Clark, Elena M Vazey, Gary Aston-Jones, Yong Li, Anthony E Pickering, Susan J Sara, Gina R Poe
Sleep is critical for proper memory consolidation. The locus coeruleus (LC) releases norepinephrine throughout the brain except when the LC falls silent throughout rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and prior to each non-REM (NREM) sleep spindle. We hypothesize that these transient LC silences allow the synaptic plasticity that is necessary to incorporate new information into pre-existing memory circuits. We found that spontaneous LC activity within sleep spindles triggers a decrease in spindle power. By optogenetically stimulating norepinephrine-containing LC neurons at 2 Hz during sleep, we reduced sleep spindle occurrence, as well as NREM delta power and REM theta power, without causing arousals or changing sleep amounts...
October 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Timothy A Currier, Katherine I Nagel
A longstanding goal of systems neuroscience is to quantitatively describe how the brain integrates sensory cues over time. Here, we develop a closed-loop orienting paradigm in Drosophila to study the algorithms by which cues from two modalities are integrated during ongoing behavior. We find that flies exhibit two behaviors when presented simultaneously with an attractive visual stripe and aversive wind cue. First, flies perform a turn sequence where they initially turn away from the wind but later turn back toward the stripe, suggesting dynamic sensory processing...
October 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Nathaniel R Kinsky, David W Sullivan, William Mau, Michael E Hasselmo, Howard B Eichenbaum
To provide a substrate for remembering where in space events have occurred, place cells must reliably encode the same positions across long timescales. However, in many cases, place cells exhibit instability by randomly reorganizing their place fields between experiences, challenging this premise. Recent evidence suggests that, in some cases, instability could also arise from coherent rotations of place fields, as well as from random reorganization. To investigate this possibility, we performed in vivo calcium imaging in dorsal hippocampal region CA1 of freely moving mice while they explored two arenas with different geometry and visual cues across 8 days...
October 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Johannes Larsch, Herwig Baier
Collective behavior, such as shoaling in teleost fish, is driven by the perceptual recognition of conspecific animals. Because social interactions are mutual, it has been difficult to disentangle the exact sensory cues that trigger affiliation in the first place from those that are emitted by receptive and responsive shoal mates. Here, we overcome this challenge in a virtual reality assay in zebrafish. We discovered that simple visual features of conspecific biological motion provide a potent shoaling cue. Individual juvenile fish shoal for hours with circular black dots projected onto a screen, provided these virtual objects mimic the characteristic kinetics of zebrafish swim bouts...
October 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Katya Egert-Berg, Edward R Hurme, Stefan Greif, Aya Goldstein, Lee Harten, Luis Gerardo Herrera M, José Juan Flores-Martínez, Andrea T Valdés, Dave S Johnston, Ofri Eitan, Ivo Borissov, Jeremy Ryan Shipley, Rodrigo A Medellin, Gerald S Wilkinson, Holger R Goerlitz, Yossi Yovel
Observations of animals feeding in aggregations are often interpreted as events of social foraging, but it can be difficult to determine whether the animals arrived at the foraging sites after collective search [1-4] or whether they found the sites by following a leader [5, 6] or even independently, aggregating as an artifact of food availability [7, 8]. Distinguishing between these explanations is important, because functionally, they might have very different consequences. In the first case, the animals could benefit from the presence of conspecifics, whereas in the second and third, they often suffer from increased competition [3, 9-13]...
October 26, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Matthias Schaks, Shashi P Singh, Frieda Kage, Peter Thomason, Thomas Klünemann, Anika Steffen, Wulf Blankenfeldt, Theresia E Stradal, Robert H Insall, Klemens Rottner
Cell migration often involves the formation of sheet-like lamellipodia generated by branched actin filaments. The branches are initiated when Arp2/3 complex [1] is activated by WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) downstream of small GTPases of the Rac family [2]. Recent structural studies defined two independent Rac binding sites on WRC within the Sra-1/PIR121 subunit of the pentameric WRC [3, 4], but the functions of these sites in vivo have remained unknown. Here we dissect the mechanism of WRC activation and the in vivo relevance of distinct Rac binding sites on Sra-1, using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene disruption of Sra-1 and its paralog PIR121 in murine B16-F1 cells combined with Sra-1 mutant rescue...
October 25, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Ignacio E Schor, Giovanni Bussotti, Matilda Maleš, Mattia Forneris, Rebecca R Viales, Anton J Enright, Eileen E M Furlong
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) can often function in the regulation of gene expression during development; however, their generality as essential regulators in developmental processes and organismal phenotypes remains unclear. Here, we performed a tailored investigation of lncRNA expression and function during Drosophila embryogenesis, interrogating multiple stages, tissue specificity, nuclear localization, and genetic backgrounds. Our results almost double the number of annotated lncRNAs expressed at these embryonic stages...
October 24, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Christopher J Dakin, Amy Peters, Paola Giunti, Brian L Day
Our perception of verticality relies on combining sensory information from multiple sources. Neuronal recordings in animals implicate the cerebellum in the process, yet disease of the human cerebellum was not found to affect this perception. Here we show that a perceptual disturbance of verticality is indeed present in people with a genetically determined and pure form of cerebellar degeneration (spinocerebellar ataxia type 6; SCA 6), but is only revealed under dynamic visual conditions. Participants were required to continuously orient a visually displayed bar to vertical while the bar angle was perturbed by a low-frequency random signal and a random dot pattern rotated in their visual periphery...
October 24, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Markus Hassler, Indra A Shaltiel, Christian H Haering
Protein complexes built of structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) and kleisin subunits, including cohesin, condensin and the Smc5/6 complex, are master organizers of genome architecture in all kingdoms of life. How these large ring-shaped molecular machines use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to change the topology of chromatin fibers has remained a central unresolved question of chromosome biology. A currently emerging concept suggests that the common principle that underlies the essential functions of SMC protein complexes in the control of gene expression, chromosome segregation or DNA damage repair is their ability to expand DNA into large loop structures...
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Jörg Wiedenmann, Cecilia D'Angelo
High levels of phytoplankton visible in satellite imagery are correlated with an increased uptake of carbon compounds by corals. This suggests that corals rely less on carbon production by photosynthetic symbionts when other resources are plentiful, and that the changes in the acquisition mode of carbon can be inferred by remote-sensing techniques.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Sascha Biedermann, Thomas Laux
The stem cell niche of the shoot meristem is stably maintained despite a rapidly changing cellular context. Recent papers reveal a mechanism controlling the spatial patterning of the stem cell niche that prevents its self-termination.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Luc Pellerin
Astrocytes are polarized cells that are known to take up glucose while delivering lactate, not glucose, for neuronal use. A new study suggests how astrocytes could facilitate glucose uptake, storage and funneling at energy-requiring sites through a privileged intracellular route.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Michael A Silver
A new brain imaging study reveals that the human cerebellum contains a region that represents visual space that is dissociable from a region displaying visual memory-related activity, with both regions exhibiting precise functional coupling with corresponding cerebral cortical areas.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Hans-Dieter Sues
A cynodont from the Early Jurassic reveals unexpectedly large litters in these early mammal relatives, supporting the hypothesis that an increase in brain size was connected to smaller litters during the early evolution of mammals.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Max Coltheart
Loss of foveal vision with sparing of peripheral vision, as in macular degeneration, is often associated with visual hallucinations: it has been suggested that these occur because deafferentation of neurons in regions of visual cortex results in local neuronal hyperexcitability, and new evidence supports this hypothesis.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Aussie Suzuki, Dileep Varma
The Rod-Zw10-Zwilch complex localizes to kinetochores during mitosis. New studies reveal that this complex plays a critical role in driving the expansion of the outer domain of unattached kinetochores, in addition to its known role in the control of the spindle assembly checkpoint.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Jonathon D Crystal
New research suggests that rats can learn new spatial information in the absence of cell firing. A small enhancement of GABAergic inhibition with a low dose of muscimol blocked cell firing but left long-term potentiation induction intact, while behaviorally it blocked memory retrieval but left memory encoding intact.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Jeremy G Wideman, Sergio A Muñoz-Gómez
The MICOS complex is conserved across eukaryotes, but little is known about it outside the group that comprises animals and fungi. A new study finds that mitochondria of trypanosomatid parasites bear a divergent MICOS with both ancestral and derived subunits, but with conserved functions in crista development and membrane contact-site formation.
November 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
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