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Nat Neurosci. 2018 Mar;21(3):364-372. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0072-x. Epub 2018 Jan 29.

Medial preoptic circuit induces hunting-like actions to target objects and prey.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea. phillseung@kaist.edu.
4
Department of Biological Sciences, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea. daesoo@kaist.ac.kr.

Abstract

As animals forage, they must obtain useful targets by orchestrating appropriate actions that range from searching to chasing, biting and carrying. Here, we reveal that neurons positive for the ╬▒ subunit of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII╬▒) in the medial preoptic area (MPA) that send projections to the ventral periaqueductal gray (vPAG) mediate these target-directed actions in mice. During photostimulation of the MPA-vPAG circuit, mice vigorously engaged with 3D objects and chased moving objects. When exposed to a cricket, they hunted down the prey and bit it to kill. By applying a head-mounted object control with timely photostimulation of the MPA-vPAG circuit, we found that MPA-vPAG circuit-induced actions occurred only when the target was detected within the binocular visual field. Using this device, we successfully guided mice to navigate specified routes. Our study explains how the brain yields a strong motivation to acquire a target object along the continuum of hunting behavior.

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PMID:
29379117
DOI:
10.1038/s41593-018-0072-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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