Article of the Month, April 2018 (Mizrahi's lab)

April 5, 2018

Genetic tagging of active neurons in auditory cortex reveals maternal plasticity of coding ultrasonic vocalizations

Gen-ichi Tasaka, Casey J. Guenthner, Amos Shalev, Omri Gilday, Liqun Luo & Adi Mizrahi
Published in Nature Communications on January 2018

Neurons in the brain are functionally heterogeneous. It is thus difficult to parse out circuits that encode specific stimuli for further experimentation. We engineered a new mouse that allows cellular labeling and manipulation via genetic recombination. We used this mouse to identify functionally active circuits in the brain, validated by anatomy and physiology.We found neurons responding to mouse natural sounds such as pup wriggling calls and ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). Moreover, we found a transient recruitment of neurons highly responsive to USVs in new mothers. This unique population of neurons has distinct physiological properties that improve the coding efficiency for pup USV calls, implicating it as a unique signature in parental plasticity.