Top-down attention is crucial for meaningful behaviors and impaired in various mental disorders. However, its underpinning regulatory mechanisms are poorly understood. We demonstrate that the hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony associates with levels of top-down attention. Both attention and synchrony are reduced in mutant mice of ErbB4, a receptor of neuregulin-1. We used chemical genetic and optogenetic approaches to inactivate ErbB4 kinase and ErbB4+ interneurons, respectively, both of which reduce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity. Such inhibitions in the hippocampus impair both hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony and top-down attention, whereas those in the prefrontal cortex alter attention, but not synchrony. These observations identify a role of ErbB4-dependent GABA activity in the hippocampus in synchronizing the hippocampal-prefrontal pathway and demonstrate that acute, dynamic ErbB4 signaling is required to command top-down attention. Because both neuregulin-1 and ErbB4 are susceptibility genes of schizophrenia and major depression, our study contributes to a better understanding of these disorders. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Keywords: ADHD; E/I balance; ErbB4; GABA transmission; hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony; major depression; neuregulin-1; schizophrenia; top-down attention.
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