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Science. 2019 May 24;364(6442). pii: eaaw0445. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw0445.

Brainstem nucleus incertus controls contextual memory formation.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Cerebral Cortex Research, Department of Cellular and Network Neurobiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.
2
János Szentágothai Doctoral School of Neurosciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.
3
Department of Neuroscience, Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
4
Peptide Neurobiology Laboratory, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
5
Laboratory of Cerebral Cortex Research, Department of Cellular and Network Neurobiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. nyiri.gabor@koki.mta.hu.

Abstract

Hippocampal pyramidal cells encode memory engrams, which guide adaptive behavior. Selection of engram-forming cells is regulated by somatostatin-positive dendrite-targeting interneurons, which inhibit pyramidal cells that are not required for memory formation. Here, we found that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-releasing neurons of the mouse nucleus incertus (NI) selectively inhibit somatostatin-positive interneurons in the hippocampus, both monosynaptically and indirectly through the inhibition of their subcortical excitatory inputs. We demonstrated that NI GABAergic neurons receive monosynaptic inputs from brain areas processing important environmental information, and their hippocampal projections are strongly activated by salient environmental inputs in vivo. Optogenetic manipulations of NI GABAergic neurons can shift hippocampal network state and bidirectionally modify the strength of contextual fear memory formation. Our results indicate that brainstem NI GABAergic cells are essential for controlling contextual memories.

PMID:
31123108
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaw0445

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