projection neurons
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2022 ◽  
Bridget A Matikainen-Ankney ◽  
Alex A Legaria ◽  
Yvan M Vachez ◽  
Caitlin A Murphy ◽  
Yiyan A Pan ◽  

Obesity is a chronic relapsing disorder that is caused by an excess of caloric intake relative to energy expenditure. In addition to homeostatic feeding mechanisms, there is growing recognition of the involvement of food reward and motivation in the development of obesity. However, it remains unclear how brain circuits that control food reward and motivation are altered in obese animals. Here, we tested the hypothesis that signaling through pro-motivational circuits in the core of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is enhanced in the obese state, leading to invigoration of food seeking. Using a novel behavioral assay that quantifies physical work during food seeking, we confirmed that obese mice work harder than lean mice to obtain food, consistent with an increase in the relative reinforcing value of food in the obese state. To explain this behavioral finding, we recorded neural activity in the NAc core with both in vivo electrophysiology and cell-type specific calcium fiber photometry. Here we observed greater activation of D1-receptor expressing NAc spiny projection neurons (NAc D1SPNs) during food seeking in obese mice relative to lean mice. With ex vivo slice physiology we identified both pre- and post-synaptic mechanisms that contribute to this enhancement in NAc D1SPN activity in obese mice. Finally, blocking synaptic transmission from D1SPNs decreased physical work during food seeking and attenuated high-fat diet-induced weight gain. These experiments demonstrate that obesity is associated with a selective increase in the activity of D1SPNs during food seeking, which enhances the vigor of food seeking. This work also establishes the necessity of D1SPNs in the development of diet-induced obesity, identifying a novel potential therapeutic target.

2022 ◽  
Zengpeng Han ◽  
Nengsong Luo ◽  
Jiaxin Kou ◽  
Lei Li ◽  
Wenyu Ma ◽  

Viral tracers that permit efficient retrograde targeting of projection neurons are powerful vehicles for structural and functional dissections of the neural circuit and for the treatment of brain diseases. Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are the most potential candidates because they are low-toxic with high-level transgene expression and minimal host immune responses. Currently, some rAAVs based on capsid engineering for retrograde tracing have been widely used in the analysis and manipulation of neural circuits, but suffer from brain area selectivity and inefficient retrograde transduction in certain neural connections. Here, we discovered that the recombinant adeno-associated virus 11 (rAAV11) exhibits potent retrograde labeling of projection neurons with enhanced efficiency to rAAV2-retro in some neural connections. Combined with calcium recording technology, rAAV11 can be used to monitor neuronal activities by expressing Cre recombinase or calcium-sensitive functional probe. In addition, we further showed the suitability of rAAV11 for astrocyte targeting. These properties make rAAV11 a promising tool for the mapping and manipulation of neural circuits and gene therapy of some neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.

2022 ◽  
Joe C Brague ◽  
Rebecca P Seal

Motor deficits of Parkinsons disease (PD) such as rigidity, bradykinesia and akinesia result from a progressive loss of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. No therapies exist that slow their degeneration and the most effective treatments for the motor symptoms: L-dopa -the precursor to dopamine, and deep brain stimulation can produce dyskinesias and are highly invasive, respectively. Hence, alternative strategies targeted to slow the progression or delay the onset of motor symptoms are still highly sought. Here we report the identification of a long-term striatal plasticity mechanism that delays for several months, the onset of motor deficits in a mouse PD model. Specifically, we show that a one-week transient daily elevation of midbrain dopamine neuron activity during depletion preserves the connectivity of direct but not indirect pathway projection neurons. The findings are consistent with the balance theory of striatal output pathways and suggest a novel approach for treating the motor symptoms of PD.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Jia-Yi Wei ◽  
Sao-Yu Chu ◽  
Yu-Chien Huang ◽  
Pei-Chi Chung ◽  
Hung-Hsiang Yu

AbstractNeurogenesis in the Drosophila central brain progresses dynamically in order to generate appropriate numbers of neurons during different stages of development. Thus, a central challenge in neurobiology is to reveal the molecular and genetic mechanisms of neurogenesis timing. Here, we found that neurogenesis is significantly impaired when a novel mutation, Nuwa, is induced at early but not late larval stages. Intriguingly, when the Nuwa mutation is induced in neuroblasts of olfactory projection neurons (PNs) at the embryonic stage, embryonic-born PNs are generated, but larval-born PNs of the same origin fail to be produced. Through molecular characterization and transgenic rescue experiments, we determined that Nuwa is a loss-of-function mutation in Drosophila septin interacting protein 1 (sip1). Furthermore, we found that SIP1 expression is enriched in neuroblasts, and RNAi knockdown of sip1 using a neuroblast driver results in formation of small and aberrant brains. Finally, full-length SIP1 protein and truncated SIP1 proteins lacking either the N- or C-terminus display different subcellular localization patterns, and only full-length SIP1 can rescue the Nuwa-associated neurogenesis defect. Taken together, these results suggest that SIP1 acts as a crucial factor for specific neurogenesis programs in the early developing larval brain.

Biomedicines ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 (1) ◽  
pp. 101
Gubbi Govindaiah ◽  
Rong-Jian Liu ◽  
Yanyan Wang

The striatum contains several types of neurons including medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs), cholinergic interneurons (ChIs), and fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs). Modulating the activity of these neurons by the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) can greatly impact motor control and movement disorders. D2R exists in two isoforms: D2L and D2S. Here, we assessed whether alterations in the D2L and D2S expression levels affect neuronal excitability and synaptic function in striatal neurons. We observed that quinpirole inhibited the firing rate of all three types of striatal neurons in wild-type (WT) mice. However, in D2L knockout (KO) mice, quinpirole enhanced the excitability of ChIs, lost influence on spike firing of MSNs, and remained inhibitory effect on spike firing of FSIs. Additionally, we showed mIPSC frequency (but not mIPSC amplitude) was reduced in ChIs from D2L KO mice compared with WT mice, suggesting spontaneous GABA release is reduced at GABAergic terminals onto ChIs in D2L KO mice. Furthermore, we found D2L deficiency resulted in reduced dendritic spine density in ChIs, suggesting D2L activation plays a role in the formation/maintenance of dendritic spines of ChIs. These findings suggest new molecular and cellular mechanisms for causing ChIs abnormality seen in Parkinson’s disease or drug-induced dyskinesias.

eLife ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
Luigi Prisco ◽  
Stephan Hubertus Deimel ◽  
Hanna Yeliseyeva ◽  
André Fiala ◽  
Gaia Tavosanis

To identify and memorize discrete but similar environmental inputs, the brain needs to distinguish between subtle differences of activity patterns in defined neuronal populations. The Kenyon cells of the Drosophila adult mushroom body (MB) respond sparsely to complex olfactory input, a property that is thought to support stimuli discrimination in the MB. To understand how this property emerges, we investigated the role of the inhibitory anterior paired lateral neuron (APL) in the input circuit of the MB, the calyx. Within the calyx, presynaptic boutons of projection neurons (PNs) form large synaptic microglomeruli (MGs) with dendrites of postsynaptic Kenyon cells (KCs). Combining EM data analysis and in vivo calcium imaging, we show that APL, via inhibitory and reciprocal synapses targeting both PN boutons and KC dendrites, normalizes odour-evoked representations in MGs of the calyx. APL response scales with the PN input strength and is regionalized around PN input distribution. Our data indicate that the formation of a sparse code by the Kenyon cells requires APL-driven normalization of their MG postsynaptic responses. This work provides experimental insights on how inhibition shapes sensory information representation in a higher brain centre, thereby supporting stimuli discrimination and allowing for efficient associative memory formation.

2021 ◽  
Aurel A Lazar ◽  
Tingkai Liu ◽  
Chung-Heng Yeh

In the early olfactory pathway of Drosophila, Olfactory Sensory Neurons (OSNs) multiplicatively encode the odorant identity and the concentration profile. Projection Neurons (PNs) responses in the Antennal Lobe (AL), in turn, exhibit strong transients at odorant onset/offset and stable steady-state behavior. What is the functional logic the of diverse set of Local Neurons (LNs) in the AL Addressing this question may shed light on the key characteristics of odor information processing in the AL, and odorant recognition and olfactory associative learning in the downstream neuropils of the early olfactory system. To address the computation performed by each LN type, we exhaustively evaluated all circuit configurations of the Antennal Lobe. We found that, across model parameterizations, presynaptic inhibition of the OSN-to-PN synapse is essential for odorant identity recovery in steady-state, while postsynaptic excitation and inhibition facilitate on-/off-set event detection. The onset and offset events indicate changing odorant identities, and together with the identity recovery in steady-state, suggest that the AL is an event-based odorant identity recovery processor.

2021 ◽  
Matthew Churgin ◽  
Danylo Lavrentovich ◽  
Matthew A-Y Smith ◽  
Ruixuan Gao ◽  
Edward S Boyden ◽  

Behavior varies even among genetically identical animals raised in the same environment. However, little is known about the circuit or anatomical underpinnings of this individuality. Drosophila olfaction is an ideal system for discovering the origins of behavioral individuality among genetically identical individuals. The fly olfactory circuit is well-characterized and stereotyped, yet stable idiosyncrasies in odor preference, neural coding, and neural wiring are present and may be relevant to behavior. Using paired behavior and two-photon imaging measurements, we show that individual odor preferences in odor-vs-air and odor-vs-odor assays are predicted by idiosyncratic calcium dynamics in Olfactory Receptor Neurons (ORNs) and Projection Neurons (PNs), respectively. This suggests that circuit variation at the sensory periphery determines individual odor preferences. Furthermore, paired behavior and immunohistochemistry measurements reveal that variation in ORN presynaptic density also predicts odor-vs-odor preference. This point in the olfactory circuit appears to be a locus of individuality where microscale variation gives rise to idiosyncratic behavior. To unify these results, we constructed a leaky-integrate-and-fire model of 3,062 neurons in the antennal lobe. In these simulations, stochastic fluctuations at the glomerular level, like those observed in our ORN immunohistochemistry, produce variation in PN calcium responses with the same structure as we observed experimentally, the very structure that predicts idiosyncratic behavior. Thus, our results demonstrate how minute physiological and structural variations in a neural circuit may produce individual behavior, even when genetics and environment are held constant.

Cells ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
pp. 31
Alicia Rivera ◽  
Diana Suárez-Boomgaard ◽  
Cristina Miguelez ◽  
Alejandra Valderrama-Carvajal ◽  
Jérôme Baufreton ◽  

Long-term exposition to morphine elicits structural and synaptic plasticity in reward-related regions of the brain, playing a critical role in addiction. However, morphine-induced neuroadaptations in the dorsal striatum have been poorly studied despite its key function in drug-related habit learning. Here, we show that prolonged treatment with morphine triggered the retraction of the dendritic arbor and the loss of dendritic spines in the dorsal striatal projection neurons (MSNs). In an attempt to extend previous findings, we also explored whether the dopamine D4 receptor (D4R) could modulate striatal morphine-induced plasticity. The combined treatment of morphine with the D4R agonist PD168,077 produced an expansion of the MSNs dendritic arbors and restored dendritic spine density. At the electrophysiological level, PD168,077 in combination with morphine altered the electrical properties of the MSNs and decreased their excitability. Finally, results from the sustantia nigra showed that PD168,077 counteracted morphine-induced upregulation of μ opioid receptors (MOR) in striatonigral projections and downregulation of G protein-gated inward rectifier K+ channels (GIRK1 and GIRK2) in dopaminergic cells. The present results highlight the key function of D4R modulating morphine-induced plasticity in the dorsal striatum. Thus, D4R could represent a valuable pharmacological target for the safety use of morphine in pain management.

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