SP 3

Dopaminergic signaling and sensory prediction in genetic mouse models of schizophrenia

Experimental setup. Neural responses to predictable auditory stimuli will be measured from dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and in neurons of the auditory cortex (ACX) of the mouse. Dopamine neurons will be identified optogenetically by their response to light. The influence of dopaminergic activity on sensory brain areas will be measured by stimulating terminals of dopaminergic neurons in auditory cortex.

The goal of subproject 3 is to understand how dopamine neurons contribute to sensory prediction and how genetic mutations, that increase the risk for schizophrenia, influence dopaminergic signalling and sensory prediction. To this end, we will measure neural activity in mice while they experience predictable sensory stimuli, as in subprojects 1 and 2. Dopaminergic neurons will be identified and their activity manipulated using optogenetic methods, in order to reveal their influence on sensory areas of the brain. The neuronal measurements will be carried out both in normal wild-type mice as well as in genetically modified schizophrenia mouse models. These mice carry genetic mutations that in humans constitute risk factors for schizophrenia.