Exposito-Alonso D, Osório C, Bernard C, Pascual-García S, Del Pino I, Marín O, Rico B (2020) Subcellular sorting of neuregulins controls the assembly of excitatory-inhibitory cortical circuits. Elife 9

The assembly of specific neuronal circuits relies on the expression of complementary molecular programs in presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. In the cerebral cortex, the tyrosine kinase receptor ErbB4 is critical for the wiring of specific populations of GABAergic interneurons, in which it paradoxically regulates both the formation of inhibitory synapses as well as the development of excitatory synapses received by these cells. Here, we found that Nrg1 and Nrg3, two members of the neuregulin family of trophic factors, regulate the inhibitory outputs and excitatory inputs of interneurons in the mouse cerebral cortex, respectively. The differential role of Nrg1 and Nrg3 in this process is not due to their receptor-binding EGF-like domain, but rather to their distinctive subcellular localization within pyramidal cells. Our study reveals a novel strategy for the assembly of cortical circuits that involves the differential subcellular sorting of family-related synaptic proteins.

Pubmed: 33320083