The maintenance of excitatory and inhibitory balance in the brain is essential for its function. Here we find that the developmental axon guidance receptor Roundabout 2 (Robo2) is critical for the maintenance of inhibitory synapses in the adult ventral tegmental area (VTA), a brain region important for the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Following selective genetic inactivation of Robo2 in the adult VTA of mice, reduced inhibitory control results in altered neural activity patterns, enhanced phasic dopamine release, behavioral hyperactivity, associative learning deficits, and a paradoxical inversion of psychostimulant responses. These behavioral phenotypes could be phenocopied by selective inactivation of synaptic transmission from local GABAergic neurons of the VTA, demonstrating an important function for Robo2 in regulating the excitatory and inhibitory balance of the adult brain.
- Larry S Zweifel
- Rachel O Wong
- Weining Lu
- Larry S Zweifel
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experiments were done in accordance with a protocol (4249-01) approved by the University of Washington Animal Care and Use Committee.
- Eunjoon Kim, Institute for Basic Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea (South), Republic of
© 2017, Gore et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Mechanical nociception is an evolutionarily conserved sensory process required for the survival of living organisms. Previous studies have revealed much about the neural circuits and sensory molecules in mechanical nociception, but the cellular mechanisms adopted by nociceptors in force detection remain elusive. To address this issue, we study the mechanosensation of a fly larval nociceptor (class IV da neurons, c4da) using a customized mechanical device. We find that c4da are sensitive to mN-scale forces and make uniform responses to the forces applied at different dendritic regions. Moreover, c4da showed a greater sensitivity to localized forces, consistent with them being able to detect the poking of sharp objects, such as wasp ovipositor. Further analysis reveals that high morphological complexity, mechanosensitivity to lateral tension and possibly also active signal propagation in dendrites contribute to the sensory features of c4da. In particular, we discover that Piezo and Ppk1/Ppk26, two key mechanosensory molecules, make differential but additive contributions to the mechanosensitivity of c4da. In all, our results provide updates into understanding how c4da process mechanical signals at the cellular level and reveal the contributions of key molecules.
Asymmetries of the cerebral cortex are found across diverse phyla and are particularly pronounced in humans, with important implications for brain function and disease. However, many prior studies have confounded asymmetries due to size with those due to shape. Here, we introduce a novel approach to characterize asymmetries of the whole cortical shape, independent of size, across different spatial frequencies using magnetic resonance imaging data in three independent datasets. We find that cortical shape asymmetry is highly individualized and robust, akin to a cortical fingerprint, and identifies individuals more accurately than size-based descriptors, such as cortical thickness and surface area, or measures of inter-regional functional coupling of brain activity. Individual identifiability is optimal at coarse spatial scales (~37 mm wavelength), and shape asymmetries show scale-specific associations with sex and cognition, but not handedness. While unihemispheric cortical shape shows significant heritability at coarse scales (~65 mm wavelength), shape asymmetries are determined primarily by subject-specific environmental effects. Thus, coarse-scale shape asymmetries are highly personalized, sexually dimorphic, linked to individual differences in cognition, and are primarily driven by stochastic environmental influences.