Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Ghosh, S., Yu, K., Paik, R., Lai, C., … Li, B.
1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA. 2Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. 3Present addresses: Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA (S.J.); Institutes of Brain Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (M.H.).
Selective processing of behaviourally relevant sensory inputs against irrelevant ones is a fundamental cognitive function whose impairment has been implicated in major psychiatric disorders. It is known that the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) gates sensory information en route to the cortex, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show in mice that deficiency of the Erbb4 gene in somatostatin-expressing TRN neurons markedly alters behaviours that are dependent on sensory selection. Whereas the performance of the Erbb4-deficient mice in identifying targets from distractors was improved, their ability to switch attention between conflicting sensory cues was impaired. These behavioural changes were mediated by an enhanced cortical drive onto the TRN that promotes the TRN-mediated cortical feedback inhibition of thalamic neurons. Our results uncover a previously unknown role of ErbB4 in regulating cortico-TRN-thalamic circuit function. We propose that ErbB4 sets the sensitivity of the TRN to cortical inputs at levels that can support sensory selection while allowing behavioural flexibility.
… “The light source was a single-wavelength LED system (λ = 470 nm; CoolLED.com) connected to the epifluorescence port of an Olympus BX51 microscope.”…
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