Depression is the leading cause of disability and produces enormous health and economic burdens. Current treatment approaches for depression are largely ineffective and leave more than 50% of patients symptomatic, mainly because of non-selective and broad action of antidepressants. Thus, there is an urgent need to design and develop novel therapeutics to treat depression. Given the heterogeneity and complexity of the brain, identification of molecular mechanisms within specific cell-types responsible for producing depression-like behaviors will advance development of therapies. In the reward circuitry, the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a key brain region of depression pathophysiology, possibly based on differential activity of D1- or D2- medium spiny neurons (MSNs). Here we report a circuit- and cell-type specific molecular target for depression, Shisa6, recently defined as an AMPAR component, which is increased only in D1-MSNs in the NAc of susceptible mice. Using the Ribotag approach, we dissected the transcriptional profile of D1- and D2-MSNs by RNA sequencing following a mouse model of depression, chronic social defeat stress (CSDS). Bioinformatic analyses identified cell-type specific genes that may contribute to the pathogenesis of depression, including Shisa6. We found selective optogenetic activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to NAc circuit increases Shisa6 expression in D1-MSNs. Shisa6 is specifically located in excitatory synapses of D1-MSNs and increases excitability of neurons, which promotes anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in mice. Cell-type and circuit-specific action of Shisa6, which directly modulates excitatory synapses that convey aversive information, identifies the protein as a potential rapid-antidepressant target for aberrant circuit function in depression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Psychiatry and Mental health