A supplementary circuit rule-set for the neuronal wiring

Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 May 1;7:170. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00170. eCollection 2013.


Limitations of known anatomical circuit rules necessitate the identification of supplementary rules. This is essential for explaining how associative sensory stimuli induce nervous system changes that generate internal sensations of memory, concurrent with triggering specific motor activities in response to specific cue stimuli. A candidate mechanism is rapidly reversible, yet stabilizable membrane hemi-fusion formed between the closely apposed postsynaptic membranes of different neurons at locations of convergence of sensory inputs during associative learning. The lateral entry of activity from the cue stimulus-activated postsynapse re-activates the opposite postsynapse through the hemi-fused area and induces the basic units of internal sensation (namely, semblions) as a systems property. Working, short-term and long-term memories can be viewed as functions of the number of re-activatible hemi-fusions present at the time of memory retrieval. Blocking membrane hemi-fusion either by the insertion of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins or by the deposition of insoluble intermediates of amyloid protein in the inter-postsynaptic extracellular matrix (ECM) space leads to cognitive impairments, supporting this mechanism. The introduction of membrane fusion blockers into the postsynaptic cell cytoplasm that attenuates long-term potentiation (LTP), a correlate of behavioral motor activities in response to memory retrieval, provides further support. The lateral spread of activity through the inter-postsynaptic membrane is capable of contributing to oscillating neuronal activity at certain neuronal orders. At the resting state these oscillations provide sub-threshold activation to many neurons at higher orders, including motor neurons maintaining them at a low initiation threshold for motor activity.

Keywords: circuit rules; connectome; internal sensation; long-term potentiation (LTP); membrane hemi-fusion; motor learning; wiring rules.