Entorhinal neurons receive extensive intracortical projections, and form the primary input to the hippocampus via the perforant pathway. The glutamatergic cells of origin for the perforant pathway are distinguished by their expression of reelin, a glycoprotein involved in learning and synaptic plasticity. The functional significance of reelin signaling within the entorhinal cortex, however, remains unexplored. To determine whether interrupting entorhinal reelin signaling might have consequences for learning and memory, we administered recombinant receptor-associated protein (RAP) into the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) of young Long-Evans rats. RAP prevents reelin from binding to its receptors, and we verified the knockdown of reelin signaling by quantifying the phosphorylation state of reelin's intracellular signaling target, disabled-1 (DAB1). Effective knockdown of reelin signaling was associated with impaired performance in the hippocampus-dependent version of the water maze. Moreover, inhibition of reelin signaling induced a localized loss of synaptic marker expression in the LEC. These observations support a role for entorhinal reelin signaling in spatial learning, and suggest that an intact reelin signaling pathway is essential for synaptic integrity in the adult entorhinal cortex.
- Receptor-associated protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience