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Antagonistic negative and positive neurons of the basolateral amygdala

Nature Neuroscience volume 19, pages 16361646 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a site of convergence of negative and positive stimuli and is critical for emotional behaviors and associations. However, the neural substrate for negative and positive behaviors and relationship between negative and positive representations in the basolateral amygdala are unknown. Here we identify two genetically distinct, spatially segregated populations of excitatory neurons in the mouse BLA that participate in valence-specific behaviors and are connected through mutual inhibition. These results identify a genetically defined neural circuit for the antagonistic control of emotional behaviors and memories.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge A. Wagatsuma and R.L. Redondo for help designing behavioral apparatuses, the MIT BioMicroCenter for support collecting the RNA array data, X. Liu for cloning the Fos-tTA plasmid, T.J. Ryan and D.S. Roy for comments on the manuscript, and all the members of the Tonegawa laboratory for their support. This work is supported in part by NIH Pre-Doctoral Training Grant T32GM007287 (to J.K.) and by the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the JPB Foundation (to S.T.).

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Affiliations

  1. RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Biology and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Joshua Kim
    • , Michele Pignatelli
    • , Sangyu Xu
    •  & Susumu Tonegawa
  2. Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Saitama, Japan.

    • Shigeyoshi Itohara
    •  & Susumu Tonegawa
  3. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Susumu Tonegawa

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Contributions

J.K. and S.T. conceived the study. J.K. identified gene markers. S.I. generated the transgenic Rspo2-Cre mouse. J.K. collected and analyzed histological data. J.K. and S.X., collected and analyzed behavioral data. M.P. collected and analyzed electrophysiological data. J.K. and S.T. wrote the manuscript. J.K., M.P., S.X., S.I. and S.T. discussed and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Susumu Tonegawa.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4414

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