The prefrontal cortex is important for controlling cognition, emotion and memory in animals ranging from rodents to primates. The importance of the prefrontal cortex is highlighted in multiple neurological diseases, including schizophrenia and drug addiction. Pyramidal neurons are the principal cells of the prefrontal cortex and integrate glutamatergic inputs from multiple brain regions. These excitatory neurons also receive extensive dopaminergic inputs from sub-cortical brain areas that modulate pyramidal neurons. Together, glutamatergic and dopaminergic inputs help to govern the physiological properties of pyramidal neurons and determine the function of the prefrontal cortex. The primary goal of this study is to understand how these inputs interact at the sub-cellular level in pyramidal neurons. A mechanistic approach will reveal the electrical and calcium (Ca) signals generated during synaptic transmission and integration. Ca signals control the induction of synaptic plasticity, gene expression and morphological stability of these neurons. A combination of 2-photon microscopy and 2-photon laser uncaging will be used to study these signals at individual dendrites and spines. The planned experiments will reveal the importance of different voltage-sensitive ion channels and glutamate receptors in generating Ca signals. Moreover, they will determine how dopamine receptor activation modulates these channels and receptors to influence local Ca signals. The results from these experiments will answer fundamental questions about how prefrontal pyramidal neurons integrate their synaptic inputs. Moreover, they will identify novel therapeutic targets for the debilitating neurological diseases that arise from dysfunction of these neurons.
The prefrontal cortex is important for controlling cognition, emotion and memory in animals ranging from mice to humans. The importance of the prefrontal cortex is highlighted in multiple neurological diseases, including schizophrenia and drug addiction. The proposed experiments will determine how these neurons function and identify novel treatments for these and other debilitating neurological diseases.
|McGarry, Laura M; Carter, Adam G (2017) Prefrontal Cortex Drives Distinct Projection Neurons in the Basolateral Amygdala. Cell Rep 21:1426-1433|
|McGarry, Laura M; Carter, Adam G (2016) Inhibitory Gating of Basolateral Amygdala Inputs to the Prefrontal Cortex. J Neurosci 36:9391-406|
|Seong, Hannah J; Behnia, Rudy; Carter, Adam G (2014) Impact of subthreshold membrane potential on synaptic responses at dendritic spines of layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol 111:1960-72|
|Marlin, Joseph J; Carter, Adam G (2014) GABA-A receptor inhibition of local calcium signaling in spines and dendrites. J Neurosci 34:15898-911|
|Little, Justin P; Carter, Adam G (2013) Synaptic mechanisms underlying strong reciprocal connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala. J Neurosci 33:15333-42|
|Seong, Hannah J; Carter, Adam G (2012) D1 receptor modulation of action potential firing in a subpopulation of layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci 32:10516-21|
|Little, Justin P; Carter, Adam G (2012) Subcellular synaptic connectivity of layer 2 pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci 32:12808-19|
|Chalifoux, Jason R; Carter, Adam G (2011) GABAB receptor modulation of voltage-sensitive calcium channels in spines and dendrites. J Neurosci 31:4221-32|
|Chalifoux, Jason R; Carter, Adam G (2011) Glutamate spillover promotes the generation of NMDA spikes. J Neurosci 31:16435-46|
|Chalifoux, Jason R; Carter, Adam G (2011) GABAB receptor modulation of synaptic function. Curr Opin Neurobiol 21:339-44|
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