UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Lois Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors; Dentate Gyrus; Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials; Neurons; Synapses


Developmental Neuroscience | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience


Electrical activity regulates the manner in which neurons mature and form connections to each other. However, it remains unclear whether increased single-cell activity is sufficient to alter the development of synaptic connectivity of that neuron or whether a global increase in circuit activity is necessary.

To address this question, we genetically increased neuronal excitability of in vivo individual adult-born neurons in the mouse dentate gyrus via expression of a voltage-gated bacterial sodium channel. We observed that increasing the excitability of new neurons in an otherwise unperturbed circuit leads to changes in both their input and axonal synapses.

Furthermore, the activity-dependent transcription factor Npas4 is necessary for the changes in the input synapses of these neurons, but it is not involved in changes to their axonal synapses. Our results reveal that an increase in cell-intrinsic activity during maturation is sufficient to alter the synaptic connectivity of a neuron with the hippocampal circuit and that Npas4 is required for activity-dependent changes in input synapses.

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DOI of Published Version



J Neurosci. 2013 May 1;33(18):7928-40. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1571-12.2013. Link to article on publisher's site.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

PubMed ID