About this Research Topic
Behavior is the ultimate manifestation of neuronal physiology; however, the neuronal circuits that sustain each behavioral pattern, the molecular pathways that support a precise neuronal activity, and the genetic and epigenetic modifications that underlie changes in behavior are only starting to emerge. These represent fundamental questions in neuroscience.
Successful behavioral responses allow organisms to survive in very different environments. This is reflected in several aspects of brain structure and function. Among them, the transcriptional and chromatin changes that accompany neuronal plasticity have been difficult to address until recently. We are in a vibrant time to address these topics due to technical advances such as next-generation and single cell sequencing. These new methodologies, together with the development of novel RNA-related and epigenetic techniques, enabled the identification of detailed cellular fingerprints both at transcriptional and translational level, as well as the study of chromatin structure. Thus, possible chromatin and transcriptional changes associated with behavioral responses can now be studied with an unprecedented level of detail.
Despite the increasing knowledge, numerous challenges remain. For instance, it is not known whether epigenetic modifications are permissive factors or play an active role in behavior; whether transcriptional changes are behavior-dependent and/or cell-specific. The role of non-coding RNAs and local translation in synaptic plasticity also needs to be investigated in more detail, as well as whether these processes are conserved in evolution.
This Research Topic aims at hosting scientific contributions in the frame of molecular mechanisms that lead to changes in gene expression due to behavioral activity. The Topic will cover all levels of modification (genetic and epigenetic) and a wide range of behaviors, including but not limited to innate behaviors, learned behaviors, stress-related modifications, addiction, sleep-related changes and its alterations, psychiatric disorders and neurological diseases related to neurodegeneration. Manuscripts submitted to this Research Topic are expected to report novel discoveries and/or models with high impact in these specific areas of neuroscience.
Image credits: Dr. Martin-Peña
Confocal image representing the ellipsoid body of Drosophila Melanogaster expressing the membrane-bound reporter CD8::GFP
Keywords: Behavior, learning, gene expression, epigenetics, physiology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.