We investigated the structural development of superficial-layers of medial entorhinal cortex and parasubiculum in rats. The grid-layout and cholinergic-innervation of calbindin-positive pyramidal-cells in layer-2 emerged around birth while reelin-positive stellate-cells were scattered throughout development. Layer-3 and parasubiculum neurons had a transient calbindin-expression, which declined with age. Early postnatally, layer-2 pyramidal but not stellate-cells co-localized with doublecortin- a marker of immature neurons- suggesting delayed functional-maturation of pyramidal-cells. Three observations indicated a dorsal-to-ventral maturation of entorhinal cortex and parasubiculum: (i) calbindin-expression in layer-3 neurons decreased progressively from dorsal-to-ventral, (ii) doublecortin in layer-2 calbindin-positive-patches disappeared dorsally before ventrally, and (iii) wolframin-expression emerged earlier in dorsal than ventral parasubiculum. The early appearance of calbindin-pyramidal grid-organization in layer-2 suggests that this pattern is instructed by genetic information rather than experience. Superficial-layer-microcircuits mature earlier in dorsal entorhinal cortex, where small spatial-scales are represented. Maturation of ventral-entorhinal-microcircuits- representing larger spatial-scales - follows later around the onset of exploratory behavior.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were performed according to the German guidelines on animal welfare under the supervision of local ethics committees (LaGeSo) under the permit T0106 - 14.
- Howard Eichenbaum, Boston University, United States
© 2016, Ray & Brecht
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Many species of animals exhibit an intuitive sense of number, suggesting a fundamental neural mechanism for representing numerosity in a visual scene. Recent empirical studies demonstrate that early feedforward visual responses are sensitive to numerosity of a dot array but substantially less so to continuous dimensions orthogonal to numerosity, such as size and spacing of the dots. However, the mechanisms that extract numerosity are unknown. Here we identified the core neurocomputational principles underlying these effects: (1) center-surround contrast filters; (2) at different spatial scales; with (3) divisive normalization across network units. In an untrained computational model, these principles eliminated sensitivity to size and spacing, making numerosity the main determinant of the neuronal response magnitude. Moreover, a model implementation of these principles explained both well-known and relatively novel illusions of numerosity perception across space and time. This supports the conclusion that the neural structures and feedforward processes that encode numerosity naturally produce visual illusions of numerosity. Together, these results identify a set of neurocomputational properties that gives rise to the ubiquity of the number sense in the animal kingdom.
Neuronal identity dictates the position in an epithelium, and the ability to detect, process, and transmit specific signals to specified targets. Transcription factors (TFs) determine cellular identity via direct modulation of genetic transcription and recruiting chromatin modifiers. However, our understanding of the mechanisms that define neuronal identity and their magnitude remain a critical barrier to elucidate the etiology of congenital and neurodegenerative disorders. The rodent vomeronasal organ provides a unique system to examine in detail the molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation and maturation of chemosensory neurons. Here, we demonstrated that the identity of postmitotic/maturing vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs), and vomeronasal-dependent behaviors can be reprogrammed through the rescue of Tfap2e/AP-2ε expression in the Tfap2eNull mice, and partially reprogrammed by inducing ectopic Tfap2e expression in mature apical VSNs. We suggest that the TF Tfap2e can reprogram VSNs bypassing cellular plasticity restrictions, and that it directly controls the expression of batteries of vomeronasal genes.