Gating of hippocampal activity, plasticity, and memory by entorhinal cortex long-range inhibition.

Jayeeta Basu, Jeffrey D. Zaremba, Stephanie K. Cheung, Frederick L. Hitti, Boris V. Zemelman, Attila Losonczy, Steven A. Siegelbaum

Science 8 January 2016, Vol. 351 no. 6269, doi: 10.1126/science.aaa5694

The cortico-hippocampal circuit is critical for storage of associational memories. Most studies have focused on the role in memory storage of the excitatory projections from entorhinal cortex to hippocampus. However, entorhinal cortex also sends inhibitory projections, whose role in memory storage and cortico-hippocampal activity remains largely unexplored. We found that these long-range inhibitory projections enhance the specificity of contextual and object memory encoding. At the circuit level, these γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)–releasing projections target hippocampal inhibitory neurons and thus act as a disinhibitory gate that transiently promotes the excitation of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons by suppressing feedforward inhibition. This enhances the ability of CA1 pyramidal neurons to fire synaptically evoked dendritic spikes and to generate a temporally precise form of heterosynaptic plasticity. Long-range inhibition from entorhinal cortex may thus increase the precision of hippocampal-based long-term memory associations by assessing the salience of mnemonic information to the immediate sensory input.


Research Articles

    • A cortico-hippocampal learning rule shapes inhibitory microcircuit activity to enhance hippocampal information flow.

      Jayeeta Basu, Kalyan V. Srinivas, Stephanie K. Cheung, Hiroki Taniguchi, Z. Josh Huang, Steven A. Siegelbaum

      Neuron, Volume 79 , Issue 6 , 1208 – 1221, 18 September 2013

      How does coordinated activity between distinct brain regions implement a set of learning rules to sculpt information processing in a given neural circuit? Using interneuron cell-type-specific optical activation and pharmacogenetic silencing in vitro, we show that temporally precise pairing of direct entorhinal perforant path (PP) and hippocampal Schaffer collateral (SC) inputs to CA1 pyramidal cells selectively suppresses SC-associated perisomatic inhibition from cholecystokinin (CCK)-expressing interneurons. The CCK interneurons provide a surprisingly strong feedforward inhibitory drive to effectively control the coincident excitation of CA1 pyramidal neurons by convergent inputs. Thus, in-phase cortico-hippocampal activity provides a powerful heterosynaptic learning rule for long-term gating of information flow through the hippocampal excitatory macrocircuit by the silencing of the CCK inhibitory microcircuit.

    • Reelin Signaling Specifies the Molecular Identity of the Pyramidal Neuron Distal Dendritic Compartment.

      Justine Kupferman, Jayeeta Basu, Marco J. Russo, Jenieve Guevarra, Stephanie Cheung, and Steven A. Siegelbaum

      Cell, online publication 4 September, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.07.035

      The apical dendrites of many neurons contain proximal and distal compartments that receive synaptic inputs from different brain regions. These compartments also contain distinct complements of ion channels that enable the differential processing of their respective synaptic inputs, making them functionally distinct. At present, the molecular mechanisms that specify dendritic compartments are not well understood. Here, we report that the extracellular matrix protein Reelin, acting through its downstream, intracellular Dab1 and Src family tyrosine kinase signaling cascade, is essential for establishing and maintaining the molecular identity of the distal dendritic compartment of cortical pyramidal neurons. We find that Reelin signaling is required for the striking enrichment of HCN1 and GIRK1 channels in the distal tuft dendrites of both hippocampal CA1 and neocortical layer 5 pyramidal neurons, where the channels actively filter inputs targeted to these dendritic domains.

    • Munc13-1 C1 Domain Activation Lowers the Energy Barrier for Synaptic Vesicle Fusion.

      Jayeeta Basu, Andrea Betz, Nils Brose, Christian Rosenmund

      The Journal of Neuroscience, 31 January 2007, 27(5): 1200-1210; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4908-06.2007

      Synapses need to encode a wide dynamic range of action potential frequencies. Essential vesicle priming proteins of the Munc13 (mammalian Unc13) family play an important role in adapting vesicle supply to variable demand and thus influence short-term plasticity characteristics and synaptic function. Structure-function analyses of Munc13s have identified a “catalytic” C-terminal domain and several N-terminal modulatory domains, including a diacylglycerol/phorbol ester [4beta-phorbol-12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu)] binding C1 domain. Although still allowing basal priming, a Munc13-1 C1 domain mutation (H567K) prevents PDBu induced potentiation of evoked transmitter release, leads to strong depression during trains of synaptic activity, and causes perinatal lethality in mice. To understand the mechanism of C1 domain-mediated modulation of Munc13 function, we examined how PDBu increases neurotransmitter release. Analyses of osmotically induced release as well as Ca2+ triggered and spontaneous release showed that PDBu increases the vesicular release rate without affecting the size of the readily releasable vesicle pool, linking C1 domain activation to a lowering of the energy barrier for vesicle fusion. PDBu binding-deficient mutant Munc13-1(H567K) synapses mirrored the vesicular release properties of PDBu-potentiated wild-type synapses, indicating that Munc13-1(H567K) is a gain-of-function mutant, which conformationally mimics the PDBu-activated state of Munc13-1. We propose a PKC analogous two-state model of regulation of Munc13s, in which the basal state of Munc13s is disinhibited by C1 domain activation into a state of facilitated vesicle release, regardless of whether the release is spontaneous or action potential triggered.

    • Rab3 superprimes synaptic vesicles for release: implications for short-term synaptic plasticity.

      Oliver M. Schlüter, Jayeeta Basu, Thomas C. Südhof, and Christian Rosenmund

      The Journal of Neuroscience, 25 January 2006, 26(4):1239-1246; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3553-05.2006

      Presynaptic vesicle trafficking and priming are important steps in regulating synaptic transmission and plasticity. The four closely related small GTP-binding proteins Rab3A, Rab3B, Rab3C, and Rab3D are believed to be important for these steps. In mice, the complete absence of all Rab3s leads to perinatal lethality accompanied by a 30% reduction of probability of Ca2+-triggered synaptic release. This study examines the role of Rab3 during Ca2+-triggered release in more detail and identifies its impact on short-term plasticity. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology of autaptic neuronal cultures from Rab3-deficient mouse hippocampus, we show that excitatory Rab3-deficient neurons display unique time- and frequency-dependent short-term plasticity characteristics in response to spike trains. Analysis of vesicle release and repriming kinetics as well as Ca2+ sensitivity of release indicate that Rab3 acts on a subset of primed, fusion competent vesicles. They lower the amount of Ca2+ required for action potential-triggered release, which leads to a boosting of release probability, but their action also introduces a significant delay in the supply of these modified vesicles. As a result, Rab3-induced modifications to primed vesicles causes a transient increase in the transduction efficacy of synaptic action potential trains and optimizes the encoding of synaptic information at an intermediate spike frequency range.

    • A minimal domain responsible for Munc13 activity.

      Jayeeta Basu, Nan Shen, Irina Dulubova, Jun Lu, Rong Guan, Oleg Guryev, Nick V Grishin, Christian Rosenmund & Josep Rizo

      Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 12, 1017 – 1018 (2005)

      Munc13 proteins are essential in neurotransmitter release, controlling the priming of synaptic vesicles to a release-ready state. The sequences responsible for this priming activity are unknown. Here we identify a large alpha-helical domain of mammalian Munc13-1 that is autonomously folded and is sufficient to rescue the total arrest in neurotransmitter release observed in hippocampal neurons lacking Munc13s.

    • Molecular dynamics of a presynaptic active zone protein studied in Munc13-1-enhanced yellow fluorescent protein knock-in mutant mice.

      Kalla S, Stern M, Basu J, Varoqueaux F, Reim K, Rosenmund C, Ziv NE, Brose N.

      J Neurosci. 2006 Dec 13;26(50):13054-66.

      GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion proteins have revolutionized research on protein dynamics at synapses. However, corresponding analyses usually involve protein expression methods that override endogenous regulatory mechanisms, and therefore cause overexpression and temporal or spatial misexpression of exogenous fusion proteins, which may seriously compromise the physiological validity of such experiments. These problems can be circumvented by using knock-in mutagenesis of the endogenous genomic locus to tag the protein of interest with a fluorescent protein. We generated knock-in mice expressing a fusion protein of the presynaptic active zone protein Munc13-1 and enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) from the Munc13-1 locus. Munc13-1-EYFP-containing nerve cells and synapses are functionally identical to those of wild-type mice. However, their presynaptic active zones are distinctly fluorescent and readily amenable for imaging. We demonstrated the usefulness of these mice by studying the molecular dynamics of Munc13-1-EYFP at individual presynaptic sites. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments revealed that Munc13-1-EYFP is rapidly and continuously lost from and incorporated into active zones (tau1 approximately 3 min; tau2 approximately 80 min). Munc13-1-EYFP steady-state levels and exchange kinetics were not affected by proteasome inhibitors or acute synaptic stimulation, but exchange kinetics were reduced by chronic suppression of spontaneous activity. These experiments, performed in a minimally perturbed system, provide evidence that presynaptic active zones of mammalian CNS synapses are highly dynamic structures. They demonstrate the usefulness of the knock-in approach in general and of Munc13-1-EYFP knock-in mice in particular for imaging synaptic protein dynamics.

Heterodimerization of Munc13 C2A domain with RIM regulates synaptic vesicle docking and priming.

Marcial Camacho, Jayeeta Basu, Thorsten Trimbuch, Shuwen Chang, Cristina Pulido-Lozano, Shwu-Shin Chang, Irina Duluvova, Masin Abo-Rady, Josep Rizo & Christian Rosenmund.

Nature Communications 2017; 8: 15293.

The presynaptic active zone protein Munc13 is essential for neurotransmitter release, playing key roles in vesicle docking and priming. Mechanistically, it is thought that the C2A domain of Munc13 inhibits the priming function by homodimerization, and that RIM disrupts the autoinhibitory homodimerization forming monomeric priming-competent Munc13. However, it is unclear whether the C2A domain mediates other Munc13 functions in addition to this inactivation–activation switch. Here, we utilize mutations that modulate the homodimerization and heterodimerization states to define additional roles of the Munc13 C2A domain. Using electron microscopy and electrophysiology in hippocampal cultures, we show that the C2A domain is critical for additional steps of vesicular release, including vesicle docking. Optimal vesicle docking and priming is only possible when Munc13 heterodimerizes with RIM via its C2A domain. Beyond being a switching module, our data suggest that the Munc13-RIM heterodimer is an active component of the vesicle docking, priming and release complex.


Reviews, Books, and Book Chapters

    • “Hippocampal Function in Rodents.”

      Roland Zemla, and Jayeeta Basu

      Neurobiology of Learning and Plasticity, Current Opinion in Neurobiology 2017, 43:187–197

      The hippocampus is crucial for the formation and recall of long-term memories about people, places, objects, and events. Capitalizing on high-resolution microscopy, in vivo electrophysiology, and genetic manipulation, recent research in rodents provides evidence for hippocampal ensemble coding on the spatial, episodic, and contextual dimensions. Here we highlight the functional contribution of newly described long-range connections between hippocampus and cortical areas, and the relative impact of inhibitory and excitatory dynamics in generating behaviorally relevant population activity. Our goal is to provide an integrated view of hippocampal circuit function to understand mnemonic computations at the systems and cellular levels that underlie adaptive learned behaviors.

    • The Corticohippocampal Circuit, Synaptic Plasticity, and Memory.

      Jayeeta Basu and Steven. A. Siegelbaum. (2015)

      Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 7(11).

      Synaptic plasticity serves as a cellular substrate for information storage in the central nervous system. The entorhinal cortex (EC) and hippocampus are interconnected brain areas supporting basic cognitive functions important for the formation and retrieval of declarative memories. Here, we discuss how information flow in the EC-hippocampal loop is organized through circuit design. We highlight recently identified corticohippocampal and intrahippocampal connections and how these long-range and local microcircuits contribute to learning. This review also describes various forms of activity-dependent mechanisms that change the strength of corticohippocampal synaptic transmission. A key point to emerge from these studies is that patterned activity and interaction of coincident inputs gives rise to associational plasticity and long-term regulation of information flow. Finally, we offer insights about how learning-related synaptic plasticity within the corticohippocampal circuit during sensory experiences may enable adaptive behaviors for encoding spatial, episodic, social, and contextual memories.