Structured inhibitory activity dynamics in new virtual environments

  1. Moises Arriaga
  2. Edward B Han  Is a corresponding author
  1. Washington University School of Medicine, United States


Inhibition plays a powerful role in regulating network excitation and plasticity; however, the activity of defined interneuron types during spatial exploration remain poorly understood. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we recorded hippocampal CA1 somatostatin- and parvalbumin-expressing interneurons as mice performed a goal-directed spatial navigation task in new visual virtual reality (VR) contexts. Activity in both interneuron classes was strongly suppressed but recovered as animals learned to adapt the previously learned task to the new spatial context. Surprisingly, although there was a range of activity suppression across the population, individual somatostatin-expressing interneurons showed consistent levels of activity modulation across exposure to multiple novel environments, suggesting context-independent, stable network roles during spatial exploration. This work reveals population-level temporally dynamic interneuron activity in new environments, within which each interneuron shows stable and consistent activity modulation.

Data availability

Source data are available at Dryad digital repository under the DOI 10.5061/dryad.f83kt85. Code to analyse the data has been deposited to GitHub at (commit 54efc13).

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Moises Arriaga

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Edward B Han

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1009-2186


McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience

  • Edward B Han

McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

  • Edward B Han

Cognitive, Computational, Systems Neuroscience Pathway at Washington University in St. Louis (Graduate Student Fellowship)

  • Moises Arriaga

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. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols of Washington University (Animal Welfare Assurance # A-3381-01). The protocol was approved by the Washington University School of Medicine IACUC (#20170230). All surgery was performed under isofluorane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Helen Scharfman, New York University Langone Medical Center, United States

Version history

  1. Received: April 11, 2019
  2. Accepted: October 5, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 8, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: November 12, 2019 (version 2)


© 2019, Arriaga & Han

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.


  • 1,972
    Page views
  • 320
  • 9

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Moises Arriaga
  2. Edward B Han
Structured inhibitory activity dynamics in new virtual environments
eLife 8:e47611.

Further reading

    1. Neuroscience
    2. Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
    Megan M Cullinan, Robert C Klipp ... John R Bankston
    Research Article

    Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are trimeric proton-gated sodium channels. Recent work has shown that these channels play a role in necroptosis following prolonged acidic exposure like occurs in stroke. The C-terminus of ASIC1a is thought to mediate necroptotic cell death through interaction with receptor interacting serine threonine kinase 1 (RIPK1). This interaction is hypothesized to be inhibited at rest via an interaction between the C- and N-termini which blocks the RIPK1 binding site. Here, we use two transition metal ion FRET methods to investigate the conformational dynamics of the termini at neutral and acidic pH. We do not find evidence that the termini are close enough to be bound while the channel is at rest and find that the termini may modestly move closer together during acidification. At rest, the N-terminus adopts a conformation parallel to the membrane about 10 Å away. The distal end of the C-terminus may also spend time close to the membrane at rest. After acidification, the proximal portion of the N-terminus moves marginally closer to the membrane whereas the distal portion of the C-terminus swings away from the membrane. Together these data suggest that a new hypothesis for RIPK1 binding during stroke is needed.

    1. Neuroscience
    Anke Braun, Tobias H Donner
    Research Article

    Decisions under uncertainty are often biased by the history of preceding sensory input, behavioral choices, or received outcomes. Behavioral studies of perceptual decisions suggest that such history-dependent biases affect the accumulation of evidence and can be adapted to the correlation structure of the sensory environment. Here, we systematically varied this correlation structure while human participants performed a canonical perceptual choice task. We tracked the trial-by-trial variations of history biases via behavioral modeling and of a neural signature of decision formation via magnetoencephalography (MEG). The history bias was flexibly adapted to the environment and exerted a selective effect on the build-up (not baseline level) of action-selective motor cortical activity during decision formation. This effect added to the impact of the current stimulus. We conclude that the build-up of action plans in human motor cortical circuits is shaped by dynamic prior expectations that result from an adaptive interaction with the environment.