Excitatory cholecystokinin neurons of the midbrain integrate diverse temporal responses and drive auditory thalamic subdomains.

Affiliation

Kreeger LJ(1), Connelly CJ(1), Mehta P(1), Zemelman BV(1), Golding NL(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Neuroscience and Center for Learning and Memory, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-0248.
(2)Department of Neuroscience and Center for Learning and Memory, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-0248 [Email]

Abstract

The central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC) integrates information about different features of sound and then distributes this information to thalamocortical circuits. However, the lack of clear definitions of circuit elements in the ICC has limited our understanding of the nature of these circuit transformations. Here, we combine virus-based genetic access with electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches to identify a large family of excitatory, cholecystokinin-expressing thalamic projection neurons in the ICC of the Mongolian gerbil. We show that these neurons form a distinct cell type, displaying uniform morphology and intrinsic firing features, and provide powerful, spatially restricted excitation exclusively to the ventral auditory thalamus. In vivo, these neurons consistently exhibit V-shaped receptive field properties but strikingly diverse temporal responses to sound. Our results indicate that temporal response diversity is maintained within this population of otherwise uniform cells in the ICC and then relayed to cortex through spatially restricted thalamic subdomains.