NMDA Receptor Enhances Correlation of Spontaneous Activity in Neonatal Barrel Cortex.

Affiliation

Mizuno H(1)(2), Rao MS(3)(2), Mizuno H(3)(2), Sato T(4), Nakazawa S(4), Iwasato T(4)(5).
Author information:
(1)Laboratory of Multi-Dimensional Imaging, International Research Center for Medical Sciences
(IRCMS), Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan [Email]
(2)Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan.
(3)Laboratory of Multi-Dimensional Imaging, International Research Center for Medical Sciences
(IRCMS), Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan.
(4)Laboratory of Mammalian Neural Circuits, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima 411-8540, Japan.
(5)Department of Genetics, SOKENDAI
(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies), Mishima 411-8540, Japan.

Abstract

Correlated spontaneous activity plays critical role in the organization of neocortical circuits during development. However, cortical mechanisms regulating activity correlation are still elusive. In this study, using two-photon calcium imaging of the barrel cortex layer 4 (L4) in living neonatal mice, we found that NMDA receptors (NMDARs) in L4 neurons are important for enhancement of spontaneous activity correlation. Disruption of GluN1 (Grin1), an obligatory NMDAR subunit, in a sparse population of L4 neurons reduced activity correlation between GluN1 knock-out (GluN1KO) neuron pairs within a barrel. This reduction in activity correlation was even detected in L4 neuron pairs in neighboring barrels and most evident when either or both of neurons are located on the barrel edge. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of L4 neuron NMDARs in spatial organization of the spontaneous firing activity of L4 neurons in the neonatal barrel cortex.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Precise wiring of the thalamocortical circuits is necessary for proper sensory information processing, and thalamus-derived correlated spontaneous activity is important for thalamocortical circuit formation. The molecular mechanisms involved in the correlated activity transfer from the thalamus to the neocortex are largely unknown. In vivo two-photon calcium imaging of the neonatal barrel cortex revealed that correlated spontaneous activity between layer four neurons is reduced by mosaic knock-out (KO) of the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) obligatory subunit GluN1. Our results suggest that the function of NMDARs in layer four neurons is necessary for the communication between presynaptic and postsynaptic partners during thalamocortical circuit formation.