Molecular Characterization of Superficial Layers of the Presubiculum During Development

Front Neuroanat. 2021 May 24;15:662724. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2021.662724. eCollection 2021.


The presubiculum, a subarea of the parahippocampal region, plays a critical role in spatial navigation and spatial representation. An outstanding aspect of presubicular spatial codes is head-direction selectivity of the firing of excitatory neurons, called head-direction cells. Head-direction selectivity emerges before eye-opening in rodents and is maintained in adulthood through neurophysiological interactions between excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Although the presubiculum has been physiologically profiled in terms of spatial representation during development, the histological characteristics of the developing presubiculum are poorly understood. We found that the expression of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGluT2) could be used to delimit the superficial layers of the presubiculum, which was identified using an anterograde tracer injected into the anterior thalamic nucleus (ATN). Thus, we immunostained slices from mice ranging in age from neonates to adults using an antibody against VGluT2 to evaluate the VGluT2-positive area, which was identified as the superficial layers of the presubiculum, during development. We also immunostained the slices using antibodies against parvalbumin (PV) and somatostatin (SOM) and found that in the presubicular superficial layers, PV-positive neurons progressively increased in number during development, whereas SOM-positive neurons exhibited no increasing trend. In addition, we observed repeating patch structures in presubicular layer III from postnatal days 12. The abundant expression of VGluT2 suggests that the presubicular superficial layers are regulated primarily by VGluT2-mediated excitatory neurotransmission. Moreover, developmental changes in the densities of PV- and SOM-positive interneurons and the emergence of the VGluT2-positive patch structures during adolescence may be associated with the functional development of spatial codes in the superficial layers of the presubiculum.

Keywords: adeno-associated virus; anterior thalamus; calbindin; development; interneuron; mouse; presubiculum; vesicular glutamate transporter 2.