CCK-expressing interneurons (CCK+INs) are crucial for controlling hippocampal activity. We found two firing phenotypes of CCK+INs in rat hippocampal CA3 area; either possessing a previously undetected membrane potential-dependent firing or regular firing phenotype, due to different low-voltage-activated potassium currents. These different excitability properties destine the two types for distinct functions, because the former is essentially silenced during realistic 8-15 Hz oscillations. By contrast, the general intrinsic excitability, morphology and gene-profiles of the two types were surprisingly similar. Even the expression of Kv4.3 channels were comparable, despite evidences showing that Kv4.3-mediated currents underlie the distinct firing properties. Instead, the firing phenotypes were correlated with the presence of distinct isoforms of Kv4 auxiliary subunits (KChIP1 vs. KChIP4e and DPP6S). Our results reveal the underlying mechanisms of two previously unknown types of CCK+INs and demonstrate that alternative splicing of few genes, which may be viewed as a minor change in the cells' whole transcriptome, can determine cell-type identity.
Keywords: GABAergic neurons; hippocampus; ionic channels; membrane excitability; neuroscience; oscillations; rat; splicing isoforms.
© 2020, Oláh et al.