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6 Janelia Publications

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    Svoboda LabMagee Lab
    12/13/12 | Nonlinear dendritic integration of sensory and motor input during an active sensing task.
    Xu N, Harnett MT, Williams SR, Huber D, O’Connor DH, Svoboda K, Magee JC
    Nature. 2012 Dec 13;492:247-51. doi: 10.1038/nature11601

    Active dendrites provide neurons with powerful processing capabilities. However, little is known about the role of neuronal dendrites in behaviourally related circuit computations. Here we report that a novel global dendritic nonlinearity is involved in the integration of sensory and motor information within layer 5 pyramidal neurons during an active sensing behaviour. Layer 5 pyramidal neurons possess elaborate dendritic arborizations that receive functionally distinct inputs, each targeted to spatially separate regions. At the cellular level, coincident input from these segregated pathways initiates regenerative dendritic electrical events that produce bursts of action potential output and circuits featuring this powerful dendritic nonlinearity can implement computations based on input correlation. To examine this in vivo we recorded dendritic activity in layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the barrel cortex using two-photon calcium imaging in mice performing an object-localization task. Large-amplitude, global calcium signals were observed throughout the apical tuft dendrites when active touch occurred at particular object locations or whisker angles. Such global calcium signals are produced by dendritic plateau potentials that require both vibrissal sensory input and primary motor cortex activity. These data provide direct evidence of nonlinear dendritic processing of correlated sensory and motor information in the mammalian neocortex during active sensation.

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    Spruston LabMagee Lab
    11/22/12 | Synaptic amplification by dendritic spines enhances input cooperativity.
    Harnett MT, Makara JK, Spruston N, Kath WL, Magee JC
    Nature. 2012 Nov 22;491(7425):599-602. doi: 10.1038/nature11554

    Dendritic spines are the nearly ubiquitous site of excitatory synaptic input onto neurons and as such are critically positioned to influence diverse aspects of neuronal signalling. Decades of theoretical studies have proposed that spines may function as highly effective and modifiable chemical and electrical compartments that regulate synaptic efficacy, integration and plasticity. Experimental studies have confirmed activity-dependent structural dynamics and biochemical compartmentalization by spines. However, there is a longstanding debate over the influence of spines on the electrical aspects of synaptic transmission and dendritic operation. Here we measure the amplitude ratio of spine head to parent dendrite voltage across a range of dendritic compartments and calculate the associated spine neck resistance (R(neck)) for spines at apical trunk dendrites in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. We find that R(neck) is large enough ( 500 MΩ) to amplify substantially the spine head depolarization associated with a unitary synaptic input by  1.5- to  45-fold, depending on parent dendritic impedance. A morphologically realistic compartmental model capable of reproducing the observed spatial profile of the amplitude ratio indicates that spines provide a consistently high-impedance input structure throughout the dendritic arborization. Finally, we demonstrate that the amplification produced by spines encourages electrical interaction among coactive inputs through an R(neck)-dependent increase in spine head voltage-gated conductance activation. We conclude that the electrical properties of spines promote nonlinear dendritic processing and associated forms of plasticity and storage, thus fundamentally enhancing the computational capabilities of neurons.

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    Magee Lab
    11/21/12 | Hippocampal phase precession from dual input components.
    Chance FS
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2012 Nov 21;32:16693-703a. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2786-12.2012

    Phase precession is a well known phenomenon in which a hippocampal place cell will fire action potentials at successively earlier phases (relative to the theta-band oscillations recorded in the local field potential) as an animal moves through the cell’s receptive field (also known as a place field). We present a model in which CA1 pyramidal cell spiking is driven by dual input components arising from CA3 and EC3. The receptive fields of these two input components overlap but are offset in space from each other such that as the animal moves through the model place field, action potentials are driven first by the CA3 input component and then the EC3 input component. As CA3 synaptic input is known to arrive in CA1 at a later theta phase than EC3 input (Mizuseki et al., 2009; Montgomery et al., 2009), CA1 spiking advances in phase as the model transitions from CA3-driven spiking to EC3-driven spiking. Here spike phase is a function of animal location, placing our results in agreement with many experimental observations characterizing CA1 phase precession (O’Keefe and Recce, 1993; Huxter et al., 2003; Geisler et al., 2007). We predict that experimental manipulations that dramatically enhance or disrupt activity in either of these areas should have a significant effect on phase precession observed in CA1.

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    Magee Lab
    05/01/12 | Control of timing, rate and bursts of hippocampal place cells by dendritic and somatic inhibition.
    Royer S, Zemelman BV, Losonczy A, Kim J, Chance F, Magee JC, Buzsáki G
    Nature neuroscience. 2012 May;15:769-75. doi: 10.1038/nn.3077

    A consortium of inhibitory neurons control the firing patterns of pyramidal cells, but their specific roles in the behaving animal are largely unknown. We performed simultaneous physiological recordings and optogenetic silencing of either perisomatic (parvalbumin (PV) expressing) or dendrite-targeting (somatostatin (SOM) expressing) interneurons in hippocampal area CA1 of head-fixed mice actively moving a treadmill belt rich with visual-tactile stimuli. Silencing of either PV or SOM interneurons increased the firing rates of pyramidal cells selectively in their place fields, with PV and SOM interneurons having their largest effect during the rising and decaying parts of the place field, respectively. SOM interneuron silencing powerfully increased burst firing without altering the theta phase of spikes. In contrast, PV interneuron silencing had no effect on burst firing, but instead shifted the spikes’ theta phase toward the trough of theta. These findings indicate that perisomatic and dendritic inhibition have distinct roles in controlling the rate, burst and timing of hippocampal pyramidal cells.

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    Magee Lab
    01/01/12 | Ion channel gradients in the apical tuft region of CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Bittner KC, Andrasfalvy BK, Magee JC
    PLoS one. 2012;7:e46652. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046652

    Dendritic ion channels play a critical role in shaping synaptic input and are fundamentally important for synaptic integration and plasticity. In the hippocampal region CA1, somato-dendritic gradients of AMPA receptors and the hyperpolarization-activated cation conductance (I(h)) counteract the effects of dendritic filtering on the amplitude, time-course, and temporal integration of distal Schaffer collateral (SC) synaptic inputs within stratum radiatum (SR). While ion channel gradients in CA1 distal apical trunk dendrites within SR have been well characterized, little is known about the patterns of ion channel expression in the distal apical tuft dendrites within stratum lacunosum moleculare (SLM) that receive distinct input from the entorhinal cortex via perforant path (PP) axons. Here, we measured local ion channels densities within these distal apical tuft dendrites to determine if the somato-dendritic gradients of I(h) and AMPA receptors extend into distal tuft dendrites. We also determined the densities of voltage-gated sodium channels and NMDA receptors. We found that the densities of AMPA receptors, I(h,) and voltage-gated sodium channels are similar in tuft dendrites in SLM when compared with distal apical dendrites in SR, while the ratio of NMDA receptors to AMPA receptors increases in tuft dendrites relative to distal apical dendrites within SR. These data indicate that the somato-dendritic gradients of I(h) and AMPA receptors in apical dendrites do not extend into the distal tuft, and the relative densities of voltage-gated sodium channels and NMDA receptors are poised to support nonlinear integration of correlated SC and PP input.

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    Magee Lab
    01/01/12 | mGRASP enables mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity with light microscopy.
    Kim J, Zhao T, Petralia RS, Yu Y, Peng H, Myers E, Magee JC
    Nature Methods. 2012 Jan;9:96-102. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1784

    The GFP reconstitution across synaptic partners (GRASP) technique, based on functional complementation between two nonfluorescent GFP fragments, can be used to detect the location of synapses quickly, accurately and with high spatial resolution. The method has been previously applied in the nematode and the fruit fly but requires substantial modification for use in the mammalian brain. We developed mammalian GRASP (mGRASP) by optimizing transmembrane split-GFP carriers for mammalian synapses. Using in silico protein design, we engineered chimeric synaptic mGRASP fragments that were efficiently delivered to synaptic locations and reconstituted GFP fluorescence in vivo. Furthermore, by integrating molecular and cellular approaches with a computational strategy for the three-dimensional reconstruction of neurons, we applied mGRASP to both long-range circuits and local microcircuits in the mouse hippocampus and thalamocortical regions, analyzing synaptic distribution in single neurons and in dendritic compartments.

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