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Functional-anatomical analysis of the neuronal populations in the lateral region of the periaqueductal gray matter involved in predatory hunting and social defense behaviors

Grant number: 17/04830-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): September 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology
Principal Investigator:Newton Sabino Canteras
Grantee:Ignacio Javier Marín Blasco
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/05432-9 - Neural bases of fear and aggression, AP.TEM


Several studies have suggested an involvement of the Periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) in different behaviors that may share a component at motivational level. Previous studies from our lab suggest the existence of similar activation patterns of the lateral PAG (lPAG) in response to innate behaviors underlain by opposite motivational drivers, namely, insect predation and intraspecific defensive behavior. These results appear to reflect that major behavior-specific neuronal ensembles could co-exist in lPAG, processing information independently with different functions at behavioral level. In order to address this issue, in the present project we aim to first identify the neuronal ensembles activated in response to both stimuli using a double labeling of c-Fos protein and c-fos mRNA. In case of finding behavior-specific neuronal ensembles we will then analyze their functional role at behavioral level using a novel selective optogenetic activation method, which consists of injecting, previously to hunting or social defensive behaviors, a Cre-dependent AAV vector expressing channelrhodopsin in genetically engineered mice that express Cre recombinase under the control of c-fos promoter. The present study involves the use of novel functional specific manipulation strategies and methodologies of neural circuits involved in motivational drives underlying predatory and social defensive behaviors. (AU)

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