Paper of the Month, December 2019 (Citri's Lab)

Subregion-specific rules govern the distribution of neuronal immediate-early gene induction

Authors: Ben Jerry Gonzales, Diptendu Mukherjee, Reut Ashwal-Fluss, Yonatan Loewenstein, Ami Citri


Published in PNAS on October 2019


We are the cumulative product of past experiences, which define our interaction with the world. Experiences leave their mark, at least in part, through the induction of immediate-early genes (IEGs) within neuronal assemblies. However, the rules governing the distribution of IEG expression within neuronal assemblies have not been comprehensively studied. To identify these rules, we applied a technique that enables quantitative measurement of the expression of multiple genes within single neurons, and studied the encoding of cocaine experience in the striatum, a region of the brain associated with drug addiction. We identified principles governing the induction of gene expression and report region-specific rules defining cell-specific recruitment. Our results suggest the existence of “super-ensembles” of neurons found in spatially defined clusters and characterized by the coherent and robust expression of multiple IEGs.