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Sabine Fièvre

Senior Research Associate in Neurogenetics

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  • Temporal controls over inter-areal cortical projection neuron fate diversity Nature. 2021;599(7885):453-457. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04048-3

    abstract

    Interconnectivity between neocortical areas is critical for sensory integration and sensorimotor transformations1-6. These functions are mediated by heterogeneous inter-areal cortical projection neurons (ICPN), which send axon branches across cortical areas as well as to subcortical targets7-9. Although ICPN are anatomically diverse10-14, they are molecularly homogeneous15, and how the diversity of their anatomical and functional features emerge during development remains largely unknown. Here we address this question by linking the connectome and transcriptome in developing single ICPN of the mouse neocortex using a combination of multiplexed analysis of projections by sequencing16,17 (MAPseq, to identify single-neuron axonal projections) and single-cell RNA sequencing (to identify corresponding gene expression). Focusing on neurons of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), we reveal a protracted unfolding of the molecular and functional differentiation of motor cortex-projecting ([Formula: see text]) ICPN compared with secondary somatosensory cortex-projecting ([Formula: see text]) ICPN. We identify SOX11 as a temporally differentially expressed transcription factor in [Formula: see text] versus [Formula: see text] ICPN. Postnatal manipulation of SOX11 expression in S1 impaired sensorimotor connectivity and disrupted selective exploratory behaviours in mice. Together, our results reveal that within a single cortical area, different subtypes of ICPN have distinct postnatal paces of molecular differentiation, which are subsequently reflected in distinct circuit connectivities and functions. Dynamic differences in the expression levels of a largely generic set of genes, rather than fundamental differences in the identity of developmental genetic programs, may thus account for the emergence of intra-type diversity in cortical neurons.

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  • A Translaminar Genetic Logic for the Circuit Identity of Intracortically Projecting Neurons Curr Biol. 2019;29(2):332-339.e5. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.071

    abstract

    Neurons of the neocortex are organized into six radial layers, which have appeared at different times during evolution, with the superficial layers representing a more recent acquisition. Input to the neocortex predominantly reaches superficial layers (SL, i.e., layers (L) 2-4), while output is generated in deep layers (DL, i.e., L5-6) [1]. Intracortical connections, which bridge input and output pathways, are key components of cortical circuits because they allow the propagation and processing of information within the neocortex. Two main types of intracortically projecting neurons (ICPN) can be distinguished by their axonal features: L4 spiny stellate neurons (SSN) with short axons projecting locally within cortical columns [2-5], and SL and DL long-range projection neurons, including callosally projecting neurons (CPNSL and CPNDL) [5, 6]. Here, we investigate the molecular hallmarks that distinguish SSN, CPNSL, and CPNDL and relate their transcriptional signatures with their output connectivity. Specifically, taking advantage of the presence of CPN in both SL and DL, we identify lamina-independent genetic hallmarks of a constant projection motif (i.e., interhemispheric projection). By performing unbiased transcriptomic comparisons between CPNSL, CPNDL and SSN, we provide specific molecular profiles for each of these populations and show that target identity supersedes laminar position in defining ICPN transcriptional diversity. Together, these findings reveal a projection-based organization of transcriptional programs across cortical layers, which we propose reflects conserved strategy to protect canonical circuit structure (and hence function) across a diverse range of neuroanatomies.

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  • Temporal plasticity of apical progenitors in the developing mouse neocortex Nature vol. 573,7774 (2019): 370-374. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1515-6

    abstract

    The diverse subtypes of excitatory neurons that populate the neocortex are born from apical progenitors located in the ventricular zone. During corticogenesis, apical progenitors sequentially generate deep-layer neurons followed by superficial-layer neurons directly or via the generation of intermediate progenitors. Whether neurogenic fate progression necessarily implies fate restriction in single progenitor types is unknown. Here we specifically isolated apical progenitors and intermediate progenitors, and fate-mapped their respective neuronal progeny following heterochronic transplantation into younger embryos. We find that apical progenitors are temporally plastic and can re-enter past molecular, electrophysiological and neurogenic states when exposed to an earlier-stage environment by sensing dynamic changes in extracellular Wnt. By contrast, intermediate progenitors are committed progenitors that lack such retrograde fate plasticity. These findings identify a diversity in the temporal plasticity of neocortical progenitors, revealing that some subtypes of cells can be untethered from their normal temporal progression to re-enter past developmental states.

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  • Progenitor Hyperpolarization Regulates the Sequential Generation of Neuronal Subtypes in the Developing Neocortex Cell. 2018;174(5):1264-1276.e15. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.06.036

    abstract

    During corticogenesis, ventricular zone progenitors sequentially generate distinct subtypes of neurons, accounting for the diversity of neocortical cells and the circuits they form. While activity-dependent processes are critical for the differentiation and circuit assembly of postmitotic neurons, how bioelectrical processes affect nonexcitable cells, such as progenitors, remains largely unknown. Here, we reveal that, in the developing mouse neocortex, ventricular zone progenitors become more hyperpolarized as they generate successive subtypes of neurons. Experimental in vivo hyperpolarization shifted the transcriptional programs and division modes of these progenitors to a later developmental status, with precocious generation of intermediate progenitors and a forward shift in the laminar, molecular, morphological, and circuit features of their neuronal progeny. These effects occurred through inhibition of the Wnt-beta-catenin signaling pathway by hyperpolarization. Thus, during corticogenesis, bioelectric membrane properties are permissive for specific molecular pathways to coordinate the temporal progression of progenitor developmental programs and thus neocortical neuron diversity.

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  • Input-dependent regulation of excitability controls dendritic maturation in somatosensory thalamocortical neurons Nat Commun. 2017;8(1):2015. Published 2017 Dec 8. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02172-1

    abstract

    Input from the sensory organs is required to pattern neurons into topographical maps during development. Dendritic complexity critically determines this patterning process; yet, how signals from the periphery act to control dendritic maturation is unclear. Here, using genetic and surgical manipulations of sensory input in mouse somatosensory thalamocortical neurons, we show that membrane excitability is a critical component of dendritic development. Using a combination of genetic approaches, we find that ablation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors during postnatal development leads to epigenetic repression of Kv1.1-type potassium channels, increased excitability, and impaired dendritic maturation. Lesions to whisker input pathways had similar effects. Overexpression of Kv1.1 was sufficient to enable dendritic maturation in the absence of sensory input. Thus, Kv1.1 acts to tune neuronal excitability and maintain it within a physiological range, allowing dendritic maturation to proceed. Together, these results reveal an input-dependent control over neuronal excitability and dendritic complexity in the development and plasticity of sensory pathways.

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  • Identification and Structure-Function Study of Positive Allosteric Modulators of Kainate Receptors Mol Pharmacol . 2017 Jun;91(6):576-585. doi: 10.1124/mol.116.107599

    abstract

    Kainate receptors (KARs) consist of a class of ionotropic glutamate receptors, which exert diverse pre- and postsynaptic functions through complex signaling regulating the activity of neural circuits. Whereas numerous small-molecule positive allosteric modulators of the ligand-binding domain of (S)-2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid (AMPA) receptors have been reported, no such ligands are available for KARs. In this study, we investigated the ability of three benzothiadiazine-based modulators to potentiate glutamate-evoked currents at recombinantly expressed KARs. 4-cyclopropyl-7-fluoro-3,4-dihydro-2H-1,2,4-benzothiadiazine 1,1-dioxide (BPAM344) potentiated glutamate-evoked currents of GluK2a 21-fold at the highest concentration tested (200 μM), with an EC50 of 79 μM. BPAM344 markedly decreased desensitization kinetics (from 5.5 to 775 ms), whereas it only had a minor effect on deactivation kinetics. 4-cyclopropyl-7-hydroxy-3,4-dihydro-2H-1,2,4-benzothiadiazine 1,1-dioxide (BPAM521) potentiated the recorded peak current amplitude of GluK2a 12-fold at a concentration of 300 μM with an EC50 value of 159 μM, whereas no potentiation of the glutamate-evoked response was observed for 7-chloro-4-(2-fluoroethyl)-3,4-dihydro-2H-1,2,4-benzothiadiazine 1,1-dioxide (BPAM121) at the highest concentration of modulator tested (300 μM). BPAM344 (100 μM) also potentiated the peak current amplitude of KAR subunits GluK3a (59-fold), GluK2a (15-fold), GluK1b (5-fold), as well as the AMPA receptor subunit GluA1i (5-fold). X-ray structures of the three modulators in the GluK1 ligand-binding domain were determined, locating two modulator-binding sites at the GluK1 dimer interface. In conclusion, this study may enable the design of new positive allosteric modulators selective for KARs, which will be of great interest for further investigation of the function of KARs in vivo and may prove useful for pharmacologically controlling the activity of neuronal networks.

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  • Molecular determinants for the strictly compartmentalized expression of kainate receptors in CA3 pyramidal cells Nat Commun. 2016;7:12738. Published 2016 Sep 27. doi:10.1038/ncomms12738

    abstract

    Distinct subtypes of ionotropic glutamate receptors can segregate to specific synaptic inputs in a given neuron. Using functional mapping by focal glutamate uncaging in CA3 pyramidal cells (PCs), we observe that kainate receptors (KARs) are strictly confined to the postsynaptic elements of mossy fibre (mf) synapses and excluded from other glutamatergic inputs and from extrasynaptic compartments. By molecular replacement in organotypic slices from GluK2 knockout mice, we show that the faithful rescue of KAR segregation at mf-CA3 synapses critically depends on the amount of GluK2a cDNA transfected and on a sequence in the GluK2a C-terminal domain responsible for interaction with N-cadherin. Targeted deletion of N-cadherin in CA3 PCs greatly reduces KAR content in thorny excrescences and KAR-EPSCs at mf-CA3 synapses. Hence, multiple mechanisms combine to confine KARs at mf-CA3 synapses, including a stringent control of the amount of GluK2 subunit in CA3 PCs and the recruitment/stabilization of KARs by N-cadherins.

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  • Scribble1/AP2 complex coordinates NMDA receptor endocytic recycling Cell Rep. 2014;9(2):712-727. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.09.017

    abstract

    The appropriate trafficking of glutamate receptors to synapses is crucial for basic synaptic function and synaptic plasticity. It is now accepted that NMDA receptors (NMDARs) internalize and are recycled at the plasma membrane but also exchange between synaptic and extrasynaptic pools; these NMDAR properties are also key to governing synaptic plasticity. Scribble1 is a large PDZ protein required for synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Herein, we show that the level of Scribble1 is regulated in an activity-dependent manner and that Scribble1 controls the number of NMDARs at the plasma membrane. Notably, Scribble1 prevents GluN2A subunits from undergoing lysosomal trafficking and degradation by increasing their recycling to the plasma membrane following NMDAR activation. Finally, we show that a specific YxxR motif on Scribble1 controls these mechanisms through a direct interaction with AP2. Altogether, our findings define a molecular mechanism to control the levels of synaptic NMDARs via Scribble1 complex signaling.

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  • Kainate receptors in the hippocampus The European journal of neuroscience vol. 39,11 (2014): 1835-44. doi:10.1111/ejn.12590

    abstract

    Kainate receptors (KARs) consist of a family of ionotropic glutamate receptors composed of the combinations of five subunits, GluK1-GluK5. Although KARs display close structural homology with AMPA receptors, they serve quite distinct functions. A great deal of our knowledge of the molecular and functional properties of KARs comes from their study in the hippocampus. This review aims at summarising the functions of KARs in the regulation of the activity of hippocampal synaptic circuits at the adult stage and throughout development. We focus on the variety of roles played by KARs in physiological conditions of activation, at pre- and postsynaptic sites, in different cell types and through either metabotropic or ionotropic actions. Finally, we present some of the few attempts to link the role of KARs in the regulation of local hippocampal circuits to the behavioural functions of the hippocampus in health and diseases.

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