We make choices based on the values of expected outcomes, informed by previous experience in similar settings. When the outcomes of our decisions consistently violate expectations, new learning is needed to maximize rewards. Yet not every surprising event indicates a meaningful change in the environment. Even when conditions are stable overall, outcomes of a single experience can still be unpredictable due to small fluctuations (i.e., expected uncertainty) in reward or costs. In the present work, we investigate causal contributions of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in rats to learning under expected outcome uncertainty in a novel delay-based task that incorporates both predictable fluctuations and directional shifts in outcome values. We demonstrate that OFC is required to accurately represent the distribution of wait times to stabilize choice preferences despite trial-by-trial fluctuations in outcomes, whereas BLA is necessary for the facilitation of learning in response to surprising events.
- Alicia Izquierdo
- Alicia Izquierdo
- Alicia Izquierdo
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. Research protocols (#2013-094-13A) were approved by the Chancellor's Animal Research Committee at the University of California, Los Angeles. All surgeries were performed under isoflurane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Geoffrey Schoenbaum, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2017, Stolyarova & Izquierdo
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.
The circadian clock orchestrates daily changes in physiology and behavior to ensure internal temporal order and optimal timing across the day. In animals, a central brain clock coordinates circadian rhythms throughout the body and is characterized by a remarkable robustness that depends on synaptic connections between constituent neurons. The clock neuron network of Drosophila, which shares network motifs with clock networks in the mammalian brain yet is built of many fewer neurons, offers a powerful model for understanding the network properties of circadian timekeeping. Here we report an assessment of synaptic connectivity within a clock network, focusing on the critical lateral neuron (LN) clock neuron classes within the Janelia hemibrain dataset. Our results reveal that previously identified anatomical and functional subclasses of LNs represent distinct connectomic types. Moreover, we identify a small number of non-clock cell subtypes representing highly synaptically coupled nodes within the clock neuron network. This suggests that neurons lacking molecular timekeeping likely play integral roles within the circadian timekeeping network. To our knowledge, this represents the first comprehensive connectomic analysis of a circadian neuronal network.
Mutations in the RNA helicase, DDX3X, are a leading cause of Intellectual Disability and present as DDX3X syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with cortical malformations and autism. Yet, the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which DDX3X controls cortical development are largely unknown. Here, using a mouse model of Ddx3x loss-of-function we demonstrate that DDX3X directs translational and cell cycle control of neural progenitors, which underlies precise corticogenesis. First, we show brain development is sensitive to Ddx3x dosage; complete Ddx3x loss from neural progenitors causes microcephaly in females, whereas hemizygous males and heterozygous females show reduced neurogenesis without marked microcephaly. In addition, Ddx3x loss is sexually dimorphic, as its paralog, Ddx3y, compensates for Ddx3x in the developing male neocortex. Using live imaging of progenitors, we show that DDX3X promotes neuronal generation by regulating both cell cycle duration and neurogenic divisions. Finally, we use ribosome profiling in vivo to discover the repertoire of translated transcripts in neural progenitors, including those which are DDX3X-dependent and essential for neurogenesis. Our study reveals invaluable new insights into the etiology of DDX3X syndrome, implicating dysregulated progenitor cell cycle dynamics and translation as pathogenic mechanisms.