Title: Neuregulin 1 and ErbB4 in cognition, mood and sensation and their implications in major depression

Speaker: Prof. Lin Mei

Time:13:00-14:30 pm, April 11, 2023

Venue:Youcai Deng Lecture Hall

Host:Prof. Xiang Yu


There are two main types of neurons: excitatory (also called projection or pyramidal) neurons that use glutamate as neurotransmitter and inhibitory interneurons that release GABA. Comprising ~15% of total neurons in the brain, interneurons control the excitability of projection neurons. Via feedforward and feedback inhibition, interneurons increase the computational power of cortical networks and synchronize both local and distant cortical circuits that are key to oscillatory activity. We have demonstrated that NRG1 (neuregulin 1) and its receptor ErbB4 tyrosine kinase are critical to GABA activity in the brain. NRG1 is produced by pyramidal neurons in an activity-dependent manner; it binds to ErbB4 in interneurons to promote GABA release, and consequently suppresses the activity of pyramidal neurons. This homeostatic mechanism is critical to many brain functions including cognition, working memory and fear. Disruptions of GABA signaling have been implicated in brain disorders including major depression, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia. In particular, both NRG1 and ErbB4 are risk genes of major depression disorders and schizophrenia. Our research has provided insight into pathophysiological mechanisms of devastating brain disorders.