Constructing autobiographical events within a spatial or temporal context: a comparison of two targeted episodic induction techniques

August 27, 2019

Sheldon S, Gurguryan L, Madore KP, Schacter DL.

Recalling and imagining autobiographical experiences involves constructing event representations within spatiotemporal contexts. We tested whether generating autobiographical events within a primarily spatial (where the event occurred) or temporal (the sequence of actions that occurred) context affected how the associated mental representation was constructed. We leveraged the well-validated episodic specificity induction (ESI) technique, known to influence the use of episodic processes on subsequent tasks, to develop variants that selectively enhance spatial or temporal processing. We tested the effects of these inductions on the details used to describe past and future autobiographical events. We first replicated the standard ESI effect, showing that ESI enhances generating episodic details, particularly those that are perception-based, when describing autobiographical events (Experiment 1). We then directly compared the effects of the spatial and temporal inductions (Experiment 2 and 3). When describing autobiographical events, spatial induction enhanced generating episodic details, specifically perception-based details, compared to the control or temporal inductions. A greater proportion of the episodic details generated after the temporal induction were gist-based than after the spatial induction, but this proportion did not differ from a control induction. Thus, using a spatial or temporal framework for autobiographical event generation alters the associated details that are accessed.


Large-scale network interactions involved in dividing attention between the external environment and internal thoughts to pursue two distinct goals

August 15, 2019

Maillet D, Beaty RE, Kucyi A, Schacter DL.

Previous research suggests that default-mode network (DMN) and dorsal attention network (DAN) are involved in internally- and externally-directed attention, respectively, through interactions with salience network (SN) and frontoparietal network (FPCN). Performing a task requiring external attention is often accompanied by a down-regulation of attention to internal thoughts, and vice-versa. In contrast, we often divide our attention between the external environment and internal thoughts to pursue distinct goals, yet virtually no prior research has examined how brain networks support this functionally critical neurocognitive process. In the current study, participants planned their responses for an upcoming alternate uses divergent thinking task (AUT-Condition), indicated whether arrows were pointing left or right (Arrows-Condition) or performed both tasks simultaneously (Dual-Task condition). Behaviorally, the Dual-Task condition was associated with equivalent generation of alternate uses but increased RT variability compared to the single-task conditions. Static connectivity analyses indicated that FPCN and SN increased their connectivity to DMN and reduced their connectivity to DAN during the Dual-Task condition and the AUT-Condition compared to the Arrows-Condition. Furthermore, DAN-SN connectivity was highest during the Arrows-Condition, intermediate during the Dual-Task condition and lowest during the AUT-Condition. Finally, time-varying connectivity analyses indicated that individuals who reported spending less time thinking of alternate uses during the Dual-Task condition spent more time in a state associated with performing the Arrows-Condition. Overall, our results suggest that interactions between DMN, FPCN, SN and DAN allow internal-external dual-tasking, and that time-varying functional connectivity between these networks is sensitive to attentional fluctuations between tasks during dual-tasking.


Tell me a story

August 6, 2019

Sanes, JR

Many authors start with the figures when writing a scientific paper, but it is easier to tell a good story if you start with the Introduction and the Results, and leave the figures to later.


Rotation tracking of genome-processing enzymes using DNA origami rotors

August 5, 2019

Kosuri P, Altheimer BD, Dai M, Yin P, Zhuang X.

Many genome-processing reactions, including transcription, replication and repair, generate DNA rotation. Methods that directly measure DNA rotation, such as rotor bead tracking1-3, angular optical trapping4 and magnetic tweezers5, have helped to unravel the action mechanisms of a range of genome-processing enzymes that includes RNA polymerase (RNAP)6, gyrase2, a viral DNA packaging motor7 and DNA recombination enzymes8. Despite the potential of rotation measurements to transform our understanding of genome-processing reactions, measuring DNA rotation remains a difficult task. The time resolution of existing methods is insufficient for tracking the rotation induced by many enzymes under physiological conditions, and the measurement throughput is typically low. Here we introduce origami-rotor-based imaging and tracking (ORBIT), a method that uses fluorescently labelled DNA origami rotors to track DNA rotation at the single-molecule level with a time resolution of milliseconds. We used ORBIT to track the DNA rotations that result from unwinding by the RecBCD complex, a helicase that is involved in DNA repair9, as well as from transcription by RNAP. We characterized a series of events that occur during RecBCD-induced DNA unwinding-including initiation, processive translocation, pausing and backtracking-and revealed an initiation mechanism that involves reversible ATP-independent DNA unwinding and engagement of the RecB motor. During transcription by RNAP, we directly observed rotational steps that correspond to the unwinding of single base pairs. We envisage that ORBIT will enable studies of a wide range of interactions between proteins and DNA.


Nanoenabled Direct Contact Interfacing of Syringe-Injectable Mesh Electronics.

August 2, 2019

Lee JM, Hong G, Lin D, Schuhmann TG Jr, Sullivan AT, Viveros RD, Park HG, Lieber CM.

Polymer-based electronics with low bending stiffnesses and high flexibility, including recently reported macroporous syringe-injectable mesh electronics, have shown substantial promise for chronic studies of neural circuitry in the brains of live animals. A central challenge for exploiting these highly flexible materials for in vivo studies has centered on the development of efficient input/output (I/O) connections to an external interface with high yield, low bonding resistance, and long-term stability. Here we report a new paradigm applied to the challenging case of injectable mesh electronics that exploits the high flexibility of nanoscale thickness two-sided metal I/O pads that can deform and contact standard interface cables in high yield with long-term electrical stability. First, we describe the design and facile fabrication of two-sided metal I/O pads that allow for contact without regard to probe orientation. Second, systematic studies of the contact resistance as a function of I/O pad design and mechanical properties demonstrate the key role of the I/O pad bending stiffness in achieving low-resistance stable contacts. Additionally, computational studies provide design rules for achieving high-yield multiplexed contact interfacing in the case of angular misalignment such that adjacent channels are not shorted. Third, the in vitro measurement of 32-channel mesh electronics probes bonded to interface cables using the direct contact method shows a reproducibly high yield of electrical connectivity. Finally, in vivo experiments with 32-channel mesh electronics probes implanted in live mice demonstrate the chronic stability of the direct contact interface, enabling consistent tracking of single-unit neural activity over at least 2 months without a loss of channel recording. The direct contact interfacing methodology paves the way for scalable long-term connections of multiplexed mesh electronics neural probes for neural recording and modulation and moreover could be used to facilitate a scalable interconnection of other flexible electronics in biological studies and therapeutic applications.

Nano Lett.