Neural mechanisms of social learning in the female mouse
Davison, Ian G.
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Citation (published version)Yuan Gao, Carl Budlong, Emily Durlacher, Ian G Davison. "Neural mechanisms of social learning in the female mouse.." eLife 2017;6:e25421 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.25421
Social interactions are often powerful drivers of learning. In female mice, mating creates a long-lasting sensory memory for the pheromones of the stud male that alters neuroendocrine responses to his chemosignals for many weeks. The cellular and synaptic correlates of pheromonal learning, however, remain unclear. We examined local circuit changes in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) using targeted ex vivo recordings of mating-activated neurons tagged with a fluorescent reporter. Imprinting led to striking plasticity in the intrinsic membrane excitability of projection neurons (mitral cells, MCs) that dramatically curtailed their responsiveness, suggesting a novel cellular substrate for pheromonal learning. Plasticity was selectively expressed in the MC ensembles activated by the stud male, consistent with formation of memories for specific individuals. Finally, MC excitability gained atypical activity-dependence whose slow dynamics strongly attenuated firing on timescales of several minutes. This unusual form of AOB plasticity may act to filter sustained or repetitive sensory signals.
RightsCopyright: © 2017, Gao et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.