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134 Publications

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    Svoboda Lab
    04/07/10 | Structural plasticity underlies experience-dependent functional plasticity of cortical circuits.
    Wilbrecht L, Holtmaat A, Wright N, Fox K, Svoboda K
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Apr 7;30(14):4927-32. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6403-09.2010

    The stabilization of new spines in the barrel cortex is enhanced after whisker trimming, but its relationship to experience-dependent plasticity is unclear. Here we show that in wild-type mice, whisker potentiation and spine stabilization are most pronounced for layer 5 neurons at the border between spared and deprived barrel columns. In homozygote alphaCaMKII-T286A mice, which lack experience-dependent potentiation of responses to spared whiskers, there is no increase in new spine stabilization at the border between barrel columns after whisker trimming. Our data provide a causal link between new spine synapses and plasticity of adult cortical circuits and suggest that alphaCaMKII autophosphorylation plays a role in the stabilization but not formation of new spines.

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    Svoboda Lab
    03/24/10 | The functional properties of barrel cortex neurons projecting to the primary motor cortex.
    Sato TR, Svoboda K
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Mar 24;30(12):4256-60. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3774-09.2010

    Nearby neurons, sharing the same locations within the mouse whisker map, can have dramatically distinct response properties. To understand the significance of this diversity, we studied the relationship between the responses of individual neurons and their projection targets in the mouse barrel cortex. Neurons projecting to primary motor cortex (MI) or secondary somatosensory area (SII) were labeled with red fluorescent protein (RFP) using retrograde viral infection. We used in vivo two-photon Ca(2+) imaging to map the responses of RFP-positive and neighboring L2/3 neurons to whisker deflections. Neurons projecting to MI displayed larger receptive fields compared with other neurons, including those projecting to SII. Our findings support the view that intermingled neurons in primary sensory areas send specific stimulus features to different parts of the brain.

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    Svoboda Lab
    02/03/10 | Vibrissa-based object localization in head-fixed mice.
    O’Connor DH, Clack NG, Huber D, Komiyama T, Myers EW, Svoboda K
    The Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Feb 3;30(5):1947-67. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3762-09.2010

    Linking activity in specific cell types with perception, cognition, and action, requires quantitative behavioral experiments in genetic model systems such as the mouse. In head-fixed primates, the combination of precise stimulus control, monitoring of motor output, and physiological recordings over large numbers of trials are the foundation on which many conceptually rich and quantitative studies have been built. Choice-based, quantitative behavioral paradigms for head-fixed mice have not been described previously. Here, we report a somatosensory absolute object localization task for head-fixed mice. Mice actively used their mystacial vibrissae (whiskers) to sense the location of a vertical pole presented to one side of the head and reported with licking whether the pole was in a target (go) or a distracter (no-go) location. Mice performed hundreds of trials with high performance (>90% correct) and localized to <0.95 mm (<6 degrees of azimuthal angle). Learning occurred over 1-2 weeks and was observed both within and across sessions. Mice could perform object localization with single whiskers. Silencing barrel cortex abolished performance to chance levels. We measured whisker movement and shape for thousands of trials. Mice moved their whiskers in a highly directed, asymmetric manner, focusing on the target location. Translation of the base of the whiskers along the face contributed substantially to whisker movements. Mice tended to maximize contact with the go (rewarded) stimulus while minimizing contact with the no-go stimulus. We conjecture that this may amplify differences in evoked neural activity between trial types.

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    Looger LabSvoboda LabJayaraman LabSchreiter Lab
    12/01/09 | Imaging neural activity in worms, flies and mice with improved GCaMP calcium indicators.
    Tian L, Hires SA, Mao T, Huber D, Chiappe ME, Chalasani SH, Petreanu L, Akerboom J, McKinney SA, Schreiter ER, Bargmann CI, Jayaraman V, Svoboda K, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2009 Dec;6(12):875-81. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1398

    Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) can be used to image activity in defined neuronal populations. However, current GECIs produce inferior signals compared to synthetic indicators and recording electrodes, precluding detection of low firing rates. We developed a single-wavelength GCaMP2-based GECI (GCaMP3), with increased baseline fluorescence (3-fold), increased dynamic range (3-fold) and higher affinity for calcium (1.3-fold). We detected GCaMP3 fluorescence changes triggered by single action potentials in pyramidal cell dendrites, with signal-to-noise ratio and photostability substantially better than those of GCaMP2, D3cpVenus and TN-XXL. In Caenorhabditis elegans chemosensory neurons and the Drosophila melanogaster antennal lobe, sensory stimulation-evoked fluorescence responses were significantly enhanced with GCaMP3 (4-6-fold). In somatosensory and motor cortical neurons in the intact mouse, GCaMP3 detected calcium transients with amplitudes linearly dependent on action potential number. Long-term imaging in the motor cortex of behaving mice revealed large fluorescence changes in imaged neurons over months.

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    Svoboda Lab
    10/15/09 | Reverse engineering the mouse brain.
    O’Connor DH, Huber D, Svoboda K
    Nature. 2009 Oct 15;461:923-9. doi: 10.1038/nature08539

    Behaviour is governed by activity in highly structured neural circuits. Genetically targeted sensors and switches facilitate measurement and manipulation of activity in vivo, linking activity in defined nodes of neural circuits to behaviour. Because of access to specific cell types, these molecular tools will have the largest impact in genetic model systems such as the mouse. Emerging assays of mouse behaviour are beginning to rival those of behaving monkeys in terms of stimulus and behavioural control. We predict that the confluence of new behavioural and molecular tools in the mouse will reveal the logic of complex mammalian circuits.

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    Svoboda Lab
    09/01/09 | Experience-dependent structural synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain.
    Holtmaat A, Svoboda K
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2009 Sep;10(9):647-58. doi: 10.1038/nrn2699

    Synaptic plasticity in adult neural circuits may involve the strengthening or weakening of existing synapses as well as structural plasticity, including synapse formation and elimination. Indeed, long-term in vivo imaging studies are beginning to reveal the structural dynamics of neocortical neurons in the normal and injured adult brain. Although the overall cell-specific morphology of axons and dendrites, as well as of a subpopulation of small synaptic structures, are remarkably stable, there is increasing evidence that experience-dependent plasticity of specific circuits in the somatosensory and visual cortex involves cell type-specific structural plasticity: some boutons and dendritic spines appear and disappear, accompanied by synapse formation and elimination, respectively. This Review focuses on recent evidence for such structural forms of synaptic plasticity in the mammalian cortex and outlines open questions.

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    Svoboda LabPastalkova Lab
    05/30/09 | Enemy avoidance task: a novel behavioral paradigm for assessing spatial avoidance of a moving subject.
    Telensky P, Svoboda J, Pastalkova E, Blahna K, Bures J, Stuchlik A
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2009 May 30;180(1):29-33. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3773-10.2011

    Navigation with respect to moving goals represents a useful ability in the everyday life of animals. We have developed a novel behavioral paradigm, "enemy avoidance task", in which a laboratory rat (subject) was trained to avoid another rat (enemy), while searching for small pasta pellets dispensed onto an experimental arena. Whenever the distance between the two animals was smaller than 25 cm, the subject was given a mild electric footshock. The results have shown that rats are capable of avoiding another rat while exploring an environment. Therefore, the enemy avoidance task can be used in electrophysiological, lesion or neuropharmacological studies exploring neuronal substrate coding for egocentric and allocentric positions of an observed animal.

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    Svoboda Lab
    05/14/09 | Subcellular dynamics of type II PKA in neurons.
    Zhong H, Sia G, Sato TR, Gray NW, Mao T, Khuchua Z, Huganir RL, Svoboda K
    Neuron. 2009 May 14;62:363-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.03.013

    Protein kinase A (PKA) plays multiple roles in neurons. The localization and specificity of PKA are largely controlled by A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). However, the dynamics of PKA in neurons and the roles of specific AKAPs are poorly understood. We imaged the distribution of type II PKA in hippocampal and cortical layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in vitro and in vivo. PKA was concentrated in dendritic shafts compared to the soma, axons, and dendritic spines. This spatial distribution was imposed by the microtubule-binding protein MAP2, indicating that MAP2 is the dominant AKAP in neurons. Following cAMP elevation, catalytic subunits dissociated from the MAP2-tethered regulatory subunits and rapidly became enriched in nearby spines. The spatial gradient of type II PKA between dendritic shafts and spines was critical for the regulation of synaptic strength and long-term potentiation. Therefore, the localization and activity-dependent translocation of type II PKA are important determinants of PKA function.

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    Svoboda Lab
    05/01/09 | Myosin-dependent targeting of transmembrane proteins to neuronal dendrites.
    Lewis TL, Mao T, Svoboda K, Arnold DB
    Nature Neuroscience. 2009 May;12(5):568-76. doi: 10.1038/nn.2318

    The distinct electrical properties of axonal and dendritic membranes are largely a result of specific transport of vesicle-bound membrane proteins to each compartment. How this specificity arises is unclear because kinesin motors that transport vesicles cannot autonomously distinguish dendritically projecting microtubules from those projecting axonally. We hypothesized that interaction with a second motor might enable vesicles containing dendritic proteins to preferentially associate with dendritically projecting microtubules and avoid those that project to the axon. Here we show that in rat cortical neurons, localization of several distinct transmembrane proteins to dendrites is dependent on specific myosin motors and an intact actin network. Moreover, fusion with a myosin-binding domain from Melanophilin targeted Channelrhodopsin-2 specifically to the somatodendritic compartment of neurons in mice in vivo. Together, our results suggest that dendritic transmembrane proteins direct the vesicles in which they are transported to avoid the axonal compartment through interaction with myosin motors.

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    Svoboda Lab
    03/01/09 | A proposal for a coordinated effort for the determination of brainwide neuroanatomical connectivity in model organisms at a mesoscopic scale.
    Bohland JW, Wu C, Barbas H, Bokil H, Bota M, Breiter HC, Cline HT, Doyle JC, Freed PJ, Greenspan RJ, Haber SN, Hawrylycz M, Herrera DG, Hilgetag CC, Huang ZJ, Jones A, Jones EG, Karten HJ, Kleinfeld D, Kötter R, Lester HA, Lin JM, Mensh BD, Mikula S, Panksepp J, Price JL, Safdieh J, Saper CB, Schiff ND, Schmahmann JD, Stillman BW, Svoboda K, Swanson LW, Toga AW, Van Essen DC, Watson JD, Mitra PP
    PLoS Computational Biology. 2009 Mar;5(3):e1000334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000334

    In this era of complete genomes, our knowledge of neuroanatomical circuitry remains surprisingly sparse. Such knowledge is critical, however, for both basic and clinical research into brain function. Here we advocate for a concerted effort to fill this gap, through systematic, experimental mapping of neural circuits at a mesoscopic scale of resolution suitable for comprehensive, brainwide coverage, using injections of tracers or viral vectors. We detail the scientific and medical rationale and briefly review existing knowledge and experimental techniques. We define a set of desiderata, including brainwide coverage; validated and extensible experimental techniques suitable for standardization and automation; centralized, open-access data repository; compatibility with existing resources; and tractability with current informatics technology. We discuss a hypothetical but tractable plan for mouse, additional efforts for the macaque, and technique development for human. We estimate that the mouse connectivity project could be completed within five years with a comparatively modest budget.

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