Acid-sensing ion channel-1a (ASIC1a) contributes to multiple fear behaviors, however the site of ASIC1a action in behavior is not known. To explore a specific location of ASIC1a action, we expressed ASIC1a in the basolateral amygdala of ASIC1a-/- mice using viral vector-mediated gene transfer. This rescued context-dependent fear memory, but not the freezing deficit during training or the unconditioned fear response to predator odor. These data pinpoint the basolateral amygdala as the site where ASIC1a contributes to fear memory. They also discriminate fear memory from fear expressed during training and from unconditioned fear. Furthermore, this work illustrates a strategy for identifying discrete brain regions where specific genes contribute to complex behaviors.
- Fear conditioning
- Unconditioned fear
- Viral-vector-mediated gene transfer