Arc restores juvenile plasticity in adult mouse visual cortex

Kyle R. Jenks, Taekeun Kim, Elissa D. Pastuzyn, Hiroyuki Okuno, Andrew V. Taibi, Haruhiko Bito, Mark F. Bear, Jason D. Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The molecular basis for the decline in experience-dependent neural plasticity over age remains poorly understood. In visual cortex, the robust plasticity induced in juvenile mice by brief monocular deprivation during the critical period is abrogated by genetic deletion of Arc, an activity-dependent regulator of excitatory synaptic modification. Here, we report that augmenting Arc expression in adult mice prolongs juvenile-like plasticity in visual cortex, as assessed by recordings of ocular dominance (OD) plasticity in vivo. A distinguishing characteristic of juvenile OD plasticity is the weakening of deprived-eye responses, believed to be accounted for by the mechanisms of homosynaptic long-term depression (LTD). Accordingly, we also found increased LTD in visual cortex of adult mice with augmented Arc expression and impaired LTD in visual cortex of juvenile mice that lack Arc or have been treated in vivo with a protein synthesis inhibitor. Further, we found that although activity-dependent expression of Arc mRNA does not change with age, expression of Arc protein is maximal during the critical period and declines in adulthood. Finally, we show that acute augmentation of Arc expression in wild-type adult mouse visual cortex is sufficient to restore juvenile-like plasticity. Together, our findings suggest a unifying molecular explanation for the age- and activity-dependent modulation of synaptic sensitivity to deprivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9182-9187
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number34
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 22 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arc
  • Critical period
  • Ocular dominance
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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