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Integrated Control of Predatory Hunting by the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala.

Han, Wenfei; Tellez, Luis A; Rangel, Miguel J; Motta, Simone C; Zhang, Xiaobing; Perez, Isaac O; Canteras, Newton S; Shammah-Lagnado, Sara J; van den Pol, Anthony N; de Araujo, Ivan E.
Cell ; 168(1-2): 311-324.e18, 2017 Jan 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28086095
Superior predatory skills led to the evolutionary triumph of jawed vertebrates. However, the mechanisms by which the vertebrate brain controls predation remain largely unknown. Here, we reveal a critical role for the central nucleus of the amygdala in predatory hunting. Both optogenetic and chemogenetic stimulation of central amygdala of mice elicited predatory-like attacks upon both insect and artificial prey. Coordinated control of cervical and mandibular musculatures, which is necessary for accurately positioning lethal bites on prey, was mediated by a central amygdala projection to the reticular formation in the brainstem. In contrast, prey pursuit was mediated by projections to the midbrain periaqueductal gray matter. Targeted lesions to these two pathways separately disrupted biting attacks upon prey versus the initiation of prey pursuit. Our findings delineate a neural network that integrates distinct behavioral modules and suggest that central amygdala neurons instruct predatory hunting across jawed vertebrates.