Dynamic ErbB4 Activity in Hippocampal-Prefrontal Synchrony and Top-Down Attention in Rodents

Zhibing Tan, Heath L. Robinson, Dong Min Yin, Yu Liu, Fang Liu, Hongsheng Wang, Thiri W. Lin, Guanglin Xing, Lin Gan, Wen Cheng Xiong, Lin Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Top-down attention is crucial for meaningful behaviors and impaired in various mental disorders. However, its underpinning regulatory mechanisms are poorly understood. We demonstrate that the hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony associates with levels of top-down attention. Both attention and synchrony are reduced in mutant mice of ErbB4, a receptor of neuregulin-1. We used chemical genetic and optogenetic approaches to inactivate ErbB4 kinase and ErbB4+ interneurons, respectively, both of which reduce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity. Such inhibitions in the hippocampus impair both hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony and top-down attention, whereas those in the prefrontal cortex alter attention, but not synchrony. These observations identify a role of ErbB4-dependent GABA activity in the hippocampus in synchronizing the hippocampal-prefrontal pathway and demonstrate that acute, dynamic ErbB4 signaling is required to command top-down attention. Because both neuregulin-1 and ErbB4 are susceptibility genes of schizophrenia and major depression, our study contributes to a better understanding of these disorders. Video Abstract: [Figure presented] Top-down attention is important for cognitive function, but its underpinning mechanisms are not well understood. Tan et al. demonstrate that attention correlates with hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony, both of which require acute, dynamic activity of ErbB4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-393.e4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 18 2018


  • ADHD
  • E/I balance
  • ErbB4
  • GABA transmission
  • hippocampal-prefrontal synchrony
  • major depression
  • neuregulin-1
  • schizophrenia
  • top-down attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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