Action potentials trigger neurotransmitter release at active zones, specialized release sites in axons. Many neurons also secrete neurotransmitters or neuromodulators from their somata and dendrites. However, it is unclear whether somatodendritic release employs specialized sites for release, and the molecular machinery for somatodendritic release is not understood. Here, we identify an essential role for the active zone protein RIM in stimulated somatodendritic dopamine release in the midbrain. In mice in which RIMs are selectively removed from dopamine neurons, action potentials failed to evoke significant somatodendritic release detected via D2 receptor-mediated currents. Compellingly, spontaneous dopamine release was normal upon RIM knockout. Dopamine neuron morphology, excitability, and dopamine release evoked by amphetamine, which reverses dopamine transporters, were also unaffected. We conclude that somatodendritic release employs molecular scaffolds to establish secretory sites for rapid dopamine signaling during firing. In contrast, basal release that is independent of action potential firing does not require RIM.
All data generated during this study are included in the figures with individual data points shown in each figure whenever possible.
- Pascal S Kaeser
- John T Williams
- Pascal S Kaeser
- Brooks G Robinson
- Pascal S Kaeser
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were performed according to institutional guidelines of Harvard University and of Oregon Health & Science University, and were in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. The animals were handled according to protocols (protocol numbers Harvard IS00000049, OHSU IP00000160) approved by the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC).
- Olivier J Manzoni, Aix-Marseille University, INSERM, INMED, France
© 2019, Robinson 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 automatic initiation of actions can be highly functional. But occasionally these actions cannot be withheld and are released at inappropriate times, impulsively. Striatal activity has been shown to participate in the timing of action sequence initiation and it has been linked to impulsivity. Using a self-initiated task, we trained adult male rats to withhold a rewarded action sequence until a waiting time interval has elapsed. By analyzing neuronal activity we show that the striatal response preceding the initiation of the learned sequence is strongly modulated by the time subjects wait before eliciting the sequence. Interestingly, the modulation is steeper in adolescent rats, which show a strong prevalence of impulsive responses compared to adults. We hypothesize this anticipatory striatal activity reflects the animals’ subjective reward expectation, based on the elapsed waiting time, while the steeper waiting modulation in adolescence reflects age-related differences in temporal discounting, internal urgency states, or explore–exploit balance.
How dynamic interactions between nervous system regions in mammals performs online motor control remains an unsolved problem. In this paper, we show that feedback control is a simple, yet powerful way to understand the neural dynamics of sensorimotor control. We make our case using a minimal model comprising spinal cord, sensory and motor cortex, coupled by long connections that are plastic. It succeeds in learning how to perform reaching movements of a planar arm with 6 muscles in several directions from scratch. The model satisfies biological plausibility constraints, like neural implementation, transmission delays, local synaptic learning and continuous online learning. Using differential Hebbian plasticity the model can go from motor babbling to reaching arbitrary targets in less than 10 min of in silico time. Moreover, independently of the learning mechanism, properly configured feedback control has many emergent properties: neural populations in motor cortex show directional tuning and oscillatory dynamics, the spinal cord creates convergent force fields that add linearly, and movements are ataxic (as in a motor system without a cerebellum).