Growing evidence suggests that sensory neurons achieve optimal encoding by matching their tuning properties to the natural stimulus statistics. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that feedback pathways from higher brain areas mediate optimized encoding of naturalistic stimuli via temporal whitening in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus. While one source of direct feedback uniformly enhances neural responses, a separate source of indirect feedback selectively attenuates responses to low frequencies, thus creating a high-pass neural tuning curve that opposes the decaying spectral power of natural stimuli. Additionally, we recorded from two populations of higher brain neurons responsible for the direct and indirect descending inputs. While one population displayed broadband tuning, the other displayed high-pass tuning and thus performed temporal whitening. Hence, our results demonstrate a novel function for descending input in optimizing neural responses to sensory input through temporal whitening that is likely to be conserved across systems and species.
All data have been deposited on Figshare under the URL: https://figshare.com/s/b9e094a67a38e29212e8
Figure source data for: Feedback optimizes neural coding and perception of natural stimulihttps://figshare.com/s/b9e094a67a38e29212e8.
- Maurice J Chacron
- Maurice J Chacron
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures were approved by McGill University's animal care committee and were performed in accordance to the guidelines set out by the Canadian Council of Animal Care. Protocol 5285.
- Catherine Emily Carr, University of Maryland, United States
© 2018, Huang 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.
The presynaptic protein α-synuclein (αSyn) has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In PD, the amygdala is prone to develop insoluble αSyn aggregates, and it has been suggested that circuit dysfunction involving the amygdala contributes to the psychiatric symptoms. Yet, how αSyn aggregates affect amygdala function is unknown. In this study, we examined αSyn in glutamatergic axon terminals and the impact of its aggregation on glutamatergic transmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA). We found that αSyn is primarily present in the vesicular glutamate transporter 1-expressing (vGluT1+) terminals in mouse BLA, which is consistent with higher levels of αSyn expression in vGluT1+ glutamatergic neurons in the cerebral cortex relative to the vGluT2+ glutamatergic neurons in the thalamus. We found that αSyn aggregation selectively decreased the cortico-BLA, but not the thalamo-BLA, transmission; and that cortico-BLA synapses displayed enhanced short-term depression upon repetitive stimulation. In addition, using confocal microscopy, we found that vGluT1+ axon terminals exhibited decreased levels of soluble αSyn, which suggests that lower levels of soluble αSyn might underlie the enhanced short-term depression of cortico-BLA synapses. In agreement with this idea, we found that cortico-BLA synaptic depression was also enhanced in αSyn knockout mice. In conclusion, both basal and dynamic cortico-BLA transmission were disrupted by abnormal aggregation of αSyn and these changes might be relevant to the perturbed cortical control of the amygdala that has been suggested to play a role in psychiatric symptoms in PD.
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