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Epidermal Growth Factor Signaling Promotes Sleep through a Combined Series and Parallel Neural Circuit

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Konietzka et al. show that cellular stress acts through EGFR signaling to depolarize the sleep-active RIS neuron directly as well as through the ALA neuron to increase sleep.

Molecular Logic and Evolution of Bitter Taste in Drosophila

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Dweck and Carlson show that responses of some neurons to bitter tastants require four gustatory receptors (Grs) and that coexpression of four Grs confers several bitter responses to sugar neurons. Loss of some Grs produces increased or novel responses, suggesting Gr-Gr inhibition. Two classes of bitter neurons arise in D. melanogaster via seven Grs.

Aversive Learning Increases Release Probability of Olfactory Sensory Neurons

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Bhattarai et al. show that pairing foot shock with optogenetic activation of a single glomerulus in the mouse olfactory bulb induces fear learning, which is accompanied by increased release probability of olfactory sensory neurons. This study highlights that the brain regulates peripheral sensory inputs based on predictive values.

Evolutionary History, Genomic Adaptation to Toxic Diet, and Extinction of the Carolina Parakeet

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Gelabert et al. report the whole genome of the extinct Carolina parakeet and provide evidence of its phylogeny, adaptation to a toxic cocklebur diet, and demographic history. The lack of signs of recent inbreeding typically found in endangered species suggests its abrupt extinction was human mediated.

Marine Biodiversity and Geographic Distributions Are Independent on Large Scales

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Long-standing ecological and evolutionary theories assume that competition between individuals controls the cumulative resource use and geographic ranges of species. Antell et al. demonstrate that spatial distributions of marine invertebrates are incongruent with this expectation throughout the last 485 million years.

Branching Regulator BRC1 Mediates Photoperiodic Control of Seasonal Growth in Hybrid Aspen

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Maurya et al. uncover a new role for tree ortholog of Arabidopsis branching regulator BRANCHED1 in photoperiod-mediated control of seasonal growth in model tree hybrid aspen. They show that short photoperiod de-repress the BRC1 expression, and its induction results in promotion of growth cessation by antagonizing the function of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT).

Geosmin Attracts Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes to Oviposition Sites

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Melo et al. show that geosmin mediates egg laying in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, which associates geosmin with microbes present in the larval aquatic habitat. The authors further show that geosmin can be used as bait in oviposition traps and that geosmin can be substituted by beetroot peel for mosquito trapping in developing countries.

Ant Foragers Compensate for the Nutritional Deficiencies in the Colony

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Ants are able collectively to overcome complex nutritional challenges provided by their environment. Csata et al. show that ants deprived of carbohydrate, sterol, protein, a subset of amino acids, or a single amino acid are rapidly able to match their foraging decisions to their nutritional needs.

Seminal Fluid-Mediated Manipulation of Post-mating Behavior in a Simultaneous Hermaphrodite

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Patlar et al. identify two proteins in the seminal fluid of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano that manipulate the subsequent behavior of mating partners, making it less likely they perform the so-called “suck” behavior that likely influences ejaculate retention after mating. This suggests these proteins mediate sexual conflict over ejaculate fate.

Fan Cells in Layer 2 of the Lateral Entorhinal Cortex Are Critical for Episodic-like Memory

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 00:00
Vandrey et al. show that synaptic inputs into the dentate gyrus from fan cells in layer 2 of the lateral entorhinal cortex are required for episodic-like memory in mice, providing evidence of dissociable memory functions in LEC networks.

Repeated Evolution of Divergent Modes of Herbivory in Non-avian Dinosaurs

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Button and Zanno demonstrate convergent cranial evolution between herbivorous dinosaur clades. Two distinct functional modes are observed to have originated multiple times, co-varying with digestive strategy. However, regions of morphospace realized by these clades were delimited by constraints imposed during their early evolutionary histories.

Activity-Dependent Nucleation of Dynamic Microtubules at Presynaptic Boutons Controls Neurotransmission

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Qu et al. demonstrate that excitatory en passant boutons are hotspots for neuronal activity-induced γ-tubulin- and augmin-dependent oriented MT nucleation and that the resulting presynaptic de novo nucleated MTs promote inter-bouton SV motility, which is rate limiting for neurotransmitter release.

LCO Receptors Involved in Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Are Functional for Rhizobia Perception in Legumes

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Soil rhizobial bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi produce lipo-chitooligosaccharidic (LCO) signal molecules. Girardin et al. show that plant LCO receptors are involved in establishment of the ancient AM symbiosis and have been recruited during evolution for establishment of the nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis with rhizobia.

Somatosensory Cortex Efficiently Processes Touch Located Beyond the Body

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Using electroencephalography, Miller et al. found that where a hand-held tool is touched is rapidly represented by the dynamics of sensorimotor cortices. Primary somatosensory cortex efficiently extracts location information encoded by the tool’s vibratory patterns. The brain reuses neural processes initially devoted to mapping touch on the body.

Origin of Lactose Fermentation in Kluyveromyces lactis by Interspecies Transfer of a Neo-functionalized Gene Cluster during Domestication

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
It is well known that humans domesticated brewer’s yeast, and now, Varela et al. report that another yeast is also the product of human activity. They show that an insect-associated, lactose-negative progenitor of the milk yeast Kluyveromyces lactis acquired the genes that enable lactose fermentation from a dairy-adapted population of K. marxianus.

Vernalization and Floral Transition in Autumn Drive Winter Annual Life History in Oilseed Rape

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Vernalization has been traditionally understood as a response of plants to prolonged winter temperatures, which enable plants to flower. However, here, O’Neill et al. use a plot warming system to show that vernalization is an autumn phenomenon in the field.

Real-Time Value Integration during Economic Choice Is Regulated by Orbitofrontal Cortex

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Appropriate decision making depends on up-to-date information about the available offers. Here, Gardner et al. show that immediate adjustments in choice behavior following revaluation of an offer require the orbitofrontal cortex to be online at the time of the choice.

A Complex Hierarchy of Avoidance Behaviors in a Single-Cell Eukaryote

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Dexter et al. replicate the disputed, century-old observations of Jennings, confirming by video microscopy and statistical analysis that the single-cell ciliate Stentor roeseli exhibits a hierarchy of avoidance behaviors. They show further that each organism’s decision between contracting and detaching resembles a fair coin toss.

TwoLumps Ascending Neurons Mediate Touch-Evoked Reversal of Walking Direction in Drosophila

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 00:00
Flies will often walk backward if they detect an obstacle in their path. Backward walking is triggered by activation of the MDN descending neurons. Here, Sen et al. identify and characterize a pair of ascending neurons, the TLA neurons, which conveys mechanosensory signals to the MDNs to mediate touch-evoked backing up.

Time to change course on climate

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 00:00
The 25th annual climate conference marks 25 years of humanity failing to do enough to avert a climate catastrophe. Although recent climate strikes have highlighted the issues, experts warn that the pledged reductions are insufficient. A backlash from short-term corporate interests and populist politics could threaten the little progress made to date.