Prof. Adi Mizrahi

The Claustrum Supports Resilience to Distraction

Atlan, G, Terem A, Peretz-Rivlin N, Sehrawat K, Gonzales B J, Pozner G, Tasaka G-ichi, Goll Y, Refaeli R, Zviran O, Lim B K, Groysman M, Goshen I, Mizrahi A, Nelken I, Citri A.  2018.  


Summary A barrage of information constantly assaults our senses, of which only a fraction is relevant at any given point in time. However, the neural circuitry supporting the suppression of irrelevant sensory distractors is not completely understood. The claustrum, a circuit hub with vast cortical connectivity, is an intriguing brain structure, whose restrictive anatomy, thin and elongated, has precluded functional investigation. Here, we describe the use of Egr2-CRE mice to access genetically defined claustral neurons. Utilizing conditional viruses for anterograde axonal labeling and retrograde trans-synaptic tracing, we validated this transgenic model for accessing the claustrum and extended the known repertoire of claustral input/output connectivity. Addressing the function of the claustrum, we inactivated CLEgr2+ neurons, chronically as well as acutely, in mice performing an automated two-alternative forced-choice behavioral task. Strikingly, inhibition of CLEgr2+ neurons did not significantly impact task performance under varying delay times and cue durations, but revealed a selective role for the claustrum in supporting performance in the presence of an irrelevant auditory distractor. Further investigation of behavior, in the naturalistic maternal pup-retrieval task, replicated the result of sensitization to an auditory distractor following inhibition of CLEgr2+ neurons. Initiating investigation into the underlying mechanism, we found that activation of CLEgr2+ neurons modulated cortical sensory processing, suppressing tone representation in the auditory cortex. This functional study, utilizing selective genetic access, implicates the claustrum in supporting resilience to distraction, a fundamental aspect of attention.


Current Biology




2752 - 2762.e7
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