Experience-dependent expression of immediate-early gene transcription factors (IEG-TFs) can transiently change the transcriptome of active neurons and initiate persistent changes in cellular function. However, the impact of IEG-TFs on circuit connectivity and function is poorly understood. We investigate the specificity with which the IEG-TF NPAS4 governs experience-dependent changes in inhibitory synaptic input onto CA1 pyramidal neurons (PNs). We show that novel sensory experience selectively enhances somatic inhibition mediated by cholecystokinin-expressing basket cells (CCKBCs) in an NPAS4-dependent manner. NPAS4 specifically increases the number of synapses made onto PNs by individual CCKBCs without altering synaptic properties. Additionally, we find that sensory experience-driven NPAS4 expression enhances depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI), a short-term form of cannabinoid-mediated plasticity expressed at CCKBC synapses. Our results indicate that CCKBC inputs are a major target of the NPAS4-dependent transcriptional program in PNs and that NPAS4 is an important regulator of plasticity mediated by endogenous cannabinoids.
Keywords: CA1 pyramidal neuron; CCK basket cell; DSI; NPAS4; immediate early gene transcription factor; mouse; neuroscience.
© 2018, Hartzell et al.