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Current Biology: CB

Carina R Oehrn, Juergen Fell, Conrad Baumann, Timm Rosburg, Eva Ludowig, Henrik Kessler, Simon Hanslmayr, Nikolai Axmacher
Forgetting does not necessarily reflect failure to encode information but can, to some extent, also be voluntarily controlled. Previous studies have suggested that voluntary forgetting relies on active inhibition of encoding processes in the hippocampus by the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) [1-4]. During attentional and sensorimotor processing, enhanced DLPFC theta power alongside increased alpha/beta oscillations are a neural signature of an inhibitory top-down mechanism, with theta oscillations reflecting prefrontal control and alpha/beta oscillations occurring in areas targeted by inhibition [5-12]...
September 1, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Meagan M Postema, Nathan E Grega-Larson, Abigail C Neininger, Matthew J Tyska
Transporting epithelial cells like those that line the gut build large arrays of actin-supported protrusions called microvilli, which extend from the apical surface into luminal spaces to increase functional surface area. Although critical for maintaining physiological homeostasis, mechanisms controlling the formation of microvilli remain poorly understood. Here, we report that the inverse-bin-amphiphysin-Rvs (I-BAR)-domain-containing protein insulin receptor tyrosine kinase substrate (IRTKS) (also known as BAIAP2L1) promotes the growth of epithelial microvilli...
August 31, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Ammon Corl, Ke Bi, Claudia Luke, Akshara Sree Challa, Aaron James Stern, Barry Sinervo, Rasmus Nielsen
Phenotypic plasticity has been hypothesized to precede and facilitate adaptation to novel environments [1-8], but examples of plasticity preceding adaptation in wild populations are rare (but see [9, 10]). We studied a population of side-blotched lizards, Uta stansburiana, living on a lava flow that formed 22,500 years ago [11] to understand the origin of their novel melanic phenotype that makes them cryptic on the black lava. We found that lizards living on and off of the lava flow exhibited phenotypic plasticity in coloration but also appeared to have heritable differences in pigmentation...
August 30, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Peter S B Finnie, Karine Gamache, Maria Protopoulos, Elizabeth Sinclair, Andrew G Baker, Szu-Han Wang, Karim Nader
The neurobiology of memory formation has been studied primarily in experimentally naive animals, but the majority of learning unfolds on a background of prior experience. Considerable evidence now indicates that the brain processes initial and subsequent learning differently. In rodents, a first instance of contextual fear conditioning requires NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation in the dorsal hippocampus, but subsequent conditioning to another context does not. This shift may result from a change in molecular plasticity mechanisms or in the information required to learn the second task...
August 28, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Margo Maex, Dag Treer, Henri De Greve, Paul Proost, Ines Van Bocxlaer, Franky Bossuyt
Animal sex pheromone systems often exist as multicomponent signals [1-11] to which chemical cues have been added over evolutionary time. Little is known on why and how additional molecules become recruited and conserved in an already functional pheromone system. Here, we investigated the evolutionary trajectory of a series of 15 kDa proteins-termed persuasins-that were co-opted more recently alongside the ancient sodefrin precursor-like factor (SPF) courtship pheromone system in salamanders [9, 12]. Expression, genomic, and molecular phylogenetic analyses show that persuasins originated from a gene that is expressed as a multi-domain protein in internal organs where it has no pheromone function but underwent gene duplication and neofunctionalization...
August 27, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Stefanie Redemann, Ina Lantzsch, Norbert Lindow, Steffen Prohaska, Martin Srayko, Thomas Müller-Reichert
In oocytes of many organisms, meiotic spindles form in the absence of centrosomes [1-5]. Such female meiotic spindles have a pointed appearance in metaphase with microtubules focused at acentrosomal spindle poles. At anaphase, the microtubules of acentrosomal spindles then transition to an inter-chromosomal array, while the spindle poles disappear. This transition is currently not understood. Previous studies have focused on this inter-chromosomal microtubule array and proposed a pushing model to drive chromosome segregation [6, 7]...
August 24, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Camille Bonneaud, Mathieu Giraudeau, Luc Tardy, Molly Staley, Geoffrey E Hill, Kevin J McGraw
Host-pathogen coevolution is assumed to play a key role in eco-evolutionary processes, including epidemiological dynamics and the evolution of sexual reproduction [1-4]. Despite this, direct evidence for host-pathogen coevolution is exceptional [5-7], particularly in vertebrate hosts. Indeed, although vertebrate hosts have been shown to evolve in response to pathogens or vice versa [8-12], there is little evidence for the necessary reciprocal changes in the success of both antagonists over time [13]. Here, we generate a time-shift experiment to demonstrate adaptive, reciprocal changes in North American house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and their emerging bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum [14-16]...
August 23, 2018: Current Biology: CB
K Nicole Crown, Danny E Miller, Jeff Sekelsky, R Scott Hawley
Crossovers (COs) are formed during meiosis by the repair of programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and are required for the proper segregation of chromosomes. More DSBs are made than COs, and the remaining DSBs are repaired as noncrossovers (NCOs). The distribution of recombination events along a chromosome occurs in a stereotyped pattern that is shaped by CO-promoting and CO-suppressing forces, collectively referred to as crossover patterning mechanisms. Chromosome inversions are structural aberrations that, when heterozygous, disrupt the recombination landscape by suppressing crossing over...
August 23, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Lydia J Hoffstaetter, Marco Mastrotto, Dana K Merriman, Sulayman D Dib-Hajj, Stephen G Waxman, Sviatoslav N Bagriantsev, Elena O Gracheva
Hibernation in mammals involves prolonged periods of inactivity, hypothermia, hypometabolism, and decreased somatosensation. Peripheral somatosensory neurons play an essential role in the detection and transmission of sensory information to CNS and in the generation of adaptive responses. During hibernation, when body temperature drops to as low as 2°C, animals dramatically reduce their sensitivity to physical cues [1, 2]. It is well established that, in non-hibernators, cold exposure suppresses energy production, leading to dissipation of the ionic and electrical gradients across the plasma membrane and, in the case of neurons, inhibiting the generation of action potentials [3]...
August 22, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Mathieu Gautier, Junichi Yamaguchi, Julien Foucaud, Anne Loiseau, Aurélien Ausset, Benoit Facon, Bernhard Gschloessl, Jacques Lagnel, Etienne Loire, Hugues Parrinello, Dany Severac, Celine Lopez-Roques, Cecile Donnadieu, Maxime Manno, Helene Berges, Karim Gharbi, Lori Lawson-Handley, Lian-Sheng Zang, Heiko Vogel, Arnaud Estoup, Benjamin Prud'homme
Many animal species comprise discrete phenotypic forms. A common example in natural populations of insects is the occurrence of different color patterns, which has motivated a rich body of ecological and genetic research [1-6]. The occurrence of dark, i.e., melanic, forms displaying discrete color patterns is found across multiple taxa, but the underlying genomic basis remains poorly characterized. In numerous ladybird species (Coccinellidae), the spatial arrangement of black and red patches on adult elytra varies wildly within species, forming strikingly different complex color patterns [7, 8]...
August 20, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Anne Kösem, Hans Rutger Bosker, Atsuko Takashima, Antje Meyer, Ole Jensen, Peter Hagoort
Low-frequency neural entrainment to rhythmic input has been hypothesized as a canonical mechanism that shapes sensory perception in time. Neural entrainment is deemed particularly relevant for speech analysis, as it would contribute to the extraction of discrete linguistic elements from continuous acoustic signals. However, its causal influence in speech perception has been difficult to establish. Here, we provide evidence that oscillations build temporal predictions about the duration of speech tokens that affect perception...
August 18, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Daniel de Malmazet, Norma K Kühn, Karl Farrow
Sensory neurons often display an ordered spatial arrangement that enhances the encoding of specific features on different sides of natural borders in the visual field (for example, [1-3]). In central visual areas, one prominent natural border is formed by the confluence of information from the two eyes, the monocular-binocular border [4]. Here, we investigate whether receptive field properties of neurons in the mouse superior colliculus show any systematic organization about the monocular-binocular border. The superior colliculus is a layered midbrain structure that plays a significant role in the orienting responses of the eye, head, and body [5]...
August 18, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Dominic L Cram, Pat Monaghan, Robert Gillespie, Ben Dantzer, Christopher Duncan, Helen Spence-Jones, Tim Clutton-Brock
In many cooperatively breeding animal societies, breeders outlive non-breeding subordinates, despite investing heavily in reproduction [1-3]. In eusocial insects, the extended lifespans of breeders arise from specialized slowed aging profiles [1], prompting suggestions that reproduction and dominance similarly defer aging in cooperatively breeding vertebrates, too [4-6]. Although lacking the permanent castes of eusocial insects, breeders of vertebrate societies could delay aging via phenotypic plasticity (similar rank-related changes occur in growth, neuroendocrinology, and behavior [7-10]), and such plastic deferment of aging may reveal novel targets for preventing aging-related diseases [11]...
August 17, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Brandon S Cooper, Alisa Sedghifar, W Thurston Nash, Aaron A Comeault, Daniel R Matute
Drosophila teissieri and D. yakuba diverged approximately 3 mya and are thought to share a large, ancestral, African range [1-3]. These species now co-occur in parts of continental Africa and in west Africa on the island of Bioko [1, 4]. While D. yakuba is a human commensal, D. teissieri seems to be associated with Parinari fruits, restricting its range to forests [4-6]. Genome data indicate introgression, despite no evidence of contemporary hybridization. Here we report the discovery of D. yakuba-D. teissieri hybrids at the interface of secondary forests and disturbed, open habitats on Bioko...
August 11, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Daria Genzel, Yosef Yovel, Michael M Yartsev
Once a year about 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) migrate up to 1,500 kilometers from wintering grounds, seamlessly flying over the Mexican border to enter the United States. Their destination is the Bracken Cave in southern Texas, which will be their summer home between the months of March through October. While residing there, these bats emerge every night at dusk from the narrow 100-foot-wide opening of this enormous cave and begin their nightly commute to foraging grounds located up to 50 kilometers away...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Marie Dacke, Basil El Jundi
What do a burly rower, a backstroke swimmer and a hard-working South African dung beetle all have in common? The answer is: they all benefit from moving along a straight path, and do so moving backwards. This, however, is where the similarity ends. While the rower has solved this navigational challenge by handing the task of steering to the coxswain, who faces the direction of travel, and the swimmer is guided down her lane by colourful ropes, the beetle puts its faith in the sky. From here, it utilises a larger repertoire of celestial compass cues than is known to be used by any other animal studied to date...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Paul A Dudchenko, Douglas Wallace
A key challenge for animals is recognising locations and navigating between them. These capacities are varied: we can remember where our car is parked at the mall, rats are able to remember where their nest location is while foraging for food morsels, and bats are able to fly directly to a favourite fruit tree 20 kilometers from their home cave. These spatial abilities, whether commonplace or remarkable, raise fundamental questions. First, how do animals find their way? Second, how does the brain represent the outside world? In this Primer, we will address both questions from the perspective of rodent cognition and neuroscience...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Thomas S Collett, Jochen Zeil
Knowledge of where things are in one's habitual surroundings cannot be encoded genetically and must be acquired in those surroundings. Many ants, bees and wasps forage from a home base and before doing so learn where resources are to be found and how to return with them to their nest. A significant component of this navigational learning seems to be the acquisition of panoramic views that insects record close to their nests and resource sites and along the paths between these places. Behavioural evidence indicates that these views are retinotopic, meaning, for instance, that an insect knows that it faces along a familiar route, if the image on its retina matches a view that it had previously recorded, when facing in that direction during route learning...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Joshua J Horns, Çağan H Şekercioğlu
Were you to find yourself somehow transported to the American Midwest in the 18th century, one feature that might strike you would be a curiously shifting cloud approaching from the northeast. As it drew closer, you might begin to discern some sound, "[like] an army of horses laden with sleigh bells" in the words of a Potawatomi Native American. However, not until it was nearly upon you would it become apparent that this cloud was made up of billions of individual birds. This was the autumn migration of the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), the most abundant bird to ever be found in North America and perhaps in the world (Figure 1)...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Iain D Couzin
Migratory movement is a strategy employed by a broad range of taxa as a response to temporally and spatially varying environmental conditions. Multiple factors can drive animal migration, including movement to hospitable environments when local conditions become unfavourable (such as to reduce nutritional and thermoregulatory stress), movement to find mates and/or breeding sites, and movement to minimise competition, predation, infection or parasitism. Migrating animals can often be seen to move together (Figure 1), sometimes in vast numbers...
September 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
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