Development of brain circuitry requires precise regulation and timing of proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells. The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is highly expressed in the proliferating granule cell precursors (GCPs) during development of the cerebellum. In a previous paper, we showedthat proNT3 promoted GCP cell cycle exit via p75NTR. Here we used genetically modified rats and mice of both sexes to show that p75NTR regulates the duration of the GCP cell cycle, requiring activation of RhoA. Rats and mice lacking p75NTR have dysregulated GCP proliferation, with deleterious effects on cerebellar circuit development and behavioral consequences persisting into adulthood. Inthe absence of p75NTR,the GCP cell cycle is accelerated, leadingto delayed cell cycle exit, prolonged GCP proliferation, increased glutamatergic input to Purkinje cells, and a deficit in delay eyeblink conditioning, a cerebellum-dependent form of learning. These results demonstrate the necessity of appropriate developmental timing of the cell cycle for establishment of proper connectivity and associated behavior.
- Eyeblink Conditioning
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