Neuromodulation of Cortical and Subcortical Circuits

Neuromodulation of Cortical and Subcortical Circuits

To adapt to an ever-changing environment and to reach specific goals, the brain needs to learn to choose between different behavioral options. This neuronal processing is influenced by the activity of neuromodulatory systems that can report selective perceptual and motivational information over multiple timescales. Neuromodulators act through specialized receptors localized on anatomically different pathways to shape the activity of neurons as well as the strength and plasticity of their synapses.  However, we have a limited mechanistic understanding of how the temporal coding of neuromodulatory signals affects the interactions between brain regions for perception and reward to implement neuronal computations.

Our aim is to resolve the spatiotemporal dynamic of behaviorally relevant neuromodulatory signals at cellular resolution by using new tools for probing, analyzing, and engineering micro- and macrocircuits of the brain.  
We combine neurophysiological (patch-clamp and extracellular field recordings) and imaging techniques (two-photon Ca2+ imaging) with in-vivo pharmacology and behavioral analysis (instrumental behavior and motor behavior), and with optogenetic/chemogenetic approaches (both ex-vivo and in-vivo).

IIT Publications List

Top Publications
Cavaccini A., Durkee C., Kofuji P., Tonini R., Araque A.
Astrocyte signaling gates long-term depression at corticostriatal synapses of the direct pathway
Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 40, (no. 30), pp. 5757-5768
Alberio L., Locarno A., Saponaro A., Romano E., Bercier V., Albadri S., Simeoni F., Moleri S., Pelucchi S., Porro A., Marcello E., Barsotti N., Kukovetz K., Boender A.J., Contestabile A., Luo S., Moutal A., Ji Y., Romani G., Beltrame M., Del Bene F., Di Luca M., Khanna R., Colecraft H.M., Pasqualetti M., Thiel G., Tonini R., Moroni A.
A light-gated potassium channel for sustained neuronal inhibition
Nature Methods, vol. 15, (no. 11), pp. 969-976
Cavaccini A., Gritti M., Giorgi A., Locarno A., Heck N., Migliarini S., Bertero A., Mereu M., Margiani G., Trusel M., Catelani T., Marotta R., De Luca M.A., Caboche J., Gozzi A., Pasqualetti M., Tonini R.
Serotonergic Signaling Controls Input-Specific Synaptic Plasticity at Striatal Circuits
Neuron, vol. 98, (no. 4), pp. 801-816.e7