Layer-specific optogenetic activation of pyramidal neurons causes beta-gamma entrainment of neonatal networks

Sebastian H. Bitzenhofer, Joachim Ahlbeck, Amy Wolff, J. Simon Wiegert, Christine E. Gee, Thomas G. Oertner, Ileana L. Hanganu-Opatz

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72 Scopus citations


Coordinated activity patterns in the developing brain may contribute to the wiring of neuronal circuits underlying future behavioural requirements. However, causal evidence for this hypothesis has been difficult to obtain owing to the absence of tools for selective manipulation of oscillations during early development. We established a protocol that combines optogenetics with electrophysiological recordings from neonatal mice in vivo to elucidate the substrate of early network oscillations in the prefrontal cortex. We show that light-induced activation of layer II/III pyramidal neurons that are transfected by in utero electroporation with a high-efficiency channelrhodopsin drives frequency-specific spiking and boosts network oscillations within beta-gamma frequency range. By contrast, activation of layer V/VI pyramidal neurons causes nonspecific network activation. Thus, entrainment of neonatal prefrontal networks in fast rhythms relies on the activation of layer II/III pyramidal neurons. This approach used here may be useful for further interrogation of developing circuits, and their behavioural readout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14563
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Feb 20 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Annette Marquardt, Iris Ohmert and Achim Dahlmann for technical assistance. This work was funded by grants from the European Research Council (ERC-2015-CoG 681577 to I.L.H.-O.) and the German Research Foundation (SPP 1665 to I.L.H.-O. and T.G.O., SFB 936 B5 to I.L.H.-O. and B7 to T.G.O., FOR 2419 P7 to J.S.W. and C.E.G., FOR 2419 P4 to T.G.O. and SPP 1926 to J.S.W.).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


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