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130 Publications

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    Druckmann LabSvoboda Lab
    05/03/17 | Maintenance of persistent activity in a frontal thalamocortical loop.
    Guo ZV, Inagaki HK, Daie K, Druckmann S, Gerfen CR, Svoboda K
    Nature. 2017 May 03;545(7653):181-6. doi: 10.1038/nature22324

    Persistent neural activity maintains information that connects past and future events. Models of persistent activity often invoke reverberations within local cortical circuits, but long-range circuits could also contribute. Neurons in the mouse anterior lateral motor cortex (ALM) have been shown to have selective persistent activity that instructs future actions. The ALM is connected bidirectionally with parts of the thalamus, including the ventral medial and ventral anterior-lateral nuclei. We recorded spikes from the ALM and thalamus during tactile discrimination with a delayed directional response. Here we show that, similar to ALM neurons, thalamic neurons exhibited selective persistent delay activity that predicted movement direction. Unilateral photoinhibition of delay activity in the ALM or thalamus produced contralesional neglect. Photoinhibition of the thalamus caused a short-latency and near-complete collapse of ALM activity. Similarly, photoinhibition of the ALM diminished thalamic activity. Our results show that the thalamus is a circuit hub in motor preparation and suggest that persistent activity requires reciprocal excitation across multiple brain areas.

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    Ji LabJayaraman LabSvoboda Lab
    02/27/17 | Video-rate volumetric functional imaging of the brain at synaptic resolution.
    Lu R, Sun W, Liang Y, Kerlin A, Bierfeld J, Seelig JD, Wilson DE, Scholl B, Mohar B, Tanimoto M, Koyama M, Fitzpatrick D, Orger MB, Ji N
    Nature Neuroscience. 2017 Feb 27;20(4):620-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.4516

    Neurons and neural networks often extend hundreds of micrometers in three dimensions. Capturing the calcium transients associated with their activity requires volume imaging methods with subsecond temporal resolution. Such speed is a challenge for conventional two-photon laser-scanning microscopy, because it depends on serial focal scanning in 3D and indicators with limited brightness. Here we present an optical module that is easily integrated into standard two-photon laser-scanning microscopes to generate an axially elongated Bessel focus, which when scanned in 2D turns frame rate into volume rate. We demonstrated the power of this approach in enabling discoveries for neurobiology by imaging the calcium dynamics of volumes of neurons and synapses in fruit flies, zebrafish larvae, mice and ferrets in vivo. Calcium signals in objects as small as dendritic spines could be resolved at video rates, provided that the samples were sparsely labeled to limit overlap in their axially projected images.

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    Svoboda LabMouseLight
    11/12/16 | Long distance projections of cortical pyramidal neurons.
    Gerfen CR, Economo MN, Chandrashekar J
    Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2016 Nov 12:. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23978

    The neuronal circuits defined by the axonal projections of pyramidal neurons in the cerebral cortex are responsible for processing sensory and other information to plan and execute behavior. Subtypes of cortical pyramidal neurons are organized across layers, with those in different layers distinguished by their patterns of axonal projections and connectivity. For example, those in layers 2 and 3 project between cortical areas to integrate sensory and other information with motor areas; while those in layers 5 and 6 also integrate information between cortical areas, but also project to subcortical structures involved in the generation of behavior. Recent advances in neuroanatomical techniques allow one to target specific subtypes of cortical pyramidal neurons and label both their inputs and projections. Combining these methods with neurophysiological recording techniques and newly introduced atlases of the mouse brain provide the opportunity to achieve a detailed view of the organization of cerebral cortical circuits.

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    Svoboda Lab
    11/02/16 | Global collaboration, learning from other fields.
    Neuron. 2016 Nov 2;92(3):561-563. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.040

    Neuroscience research is becoming increasingly more collaborative and interdisciplinary with partnerships between industry and academia and insights from fields beyond neuroscience. In the age of institutional initiatives and multi-investigator collaborations, scientists from around the world shared their perspectives on the effectiveness of large-scale collaborations versus single-lab, hypothesis-driven science.

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    Svoboda Lab
    10/17/16 | Layer 4 fast-spiking interneurons filter thalamocortical signals during active somatosensation.
    Yu J, Gutnisky DA, Hires SA, Svoboda K
    Nature Neuroscience. 2016 Oct 17;19(12):1647-57. doi: 10.1038/nn.4412

    We rely on movement to explore the environment, for example, by palpating an object. In somatosensory cortex, activity related to movement of digits or whiskers is suppressed, which could facilitate detection of touch. Movement-related suppression is generally assumed to involve corollary discharges. Here we uncovered a thalamocortical mechanism in which cortical fast-spiking interneurons, driven by sensory input, suppress movement-related activity in layer 4 (L4) excitatory neurons. In mice locating objects with their whiskers, neurons in the ventral posteromedial nucleus (VPM) fired in response to touch and whisker movement. Cortical L4 fast-spiking interneurons inherited these responses from VPM. In contrast, L4 excitatory neurons responded mainly to touch. Optogenetic experiments revealed that fast-spiking interneurons reduced movement-related spiking in excitatory neurons, enhancing selectivity for touch-related information during active tactile sensation. These observations suggest a fundamental computation performed by the thalamocortical circuit to accentuate salient tactile information.

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    06/14/16 | A large field of view two-photon mesoscope with subcellular resolution for in vivo imaging.
    Sofroniew NJ, Flickinger D, King J, Svoboda K
    eLife. 2016 Jun 14;5:e14472. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14472

    Imaging is used to map activity across populations of neurons. Microscopes with cellular resolution have small (<1 millimeter) fields of view and cannot simultaneously image activity distributed across multiple brain areas. Typical large field of view microscopes do not resolve single cells, especially in the axial dimension. We developed a 2-photon random access mesoscope (2p-RAM) that allows high-resolution imaging anywhere within a volume spanning multiple brain areas (∅ 5 mm x 1 mm cylinder). 2p-RAM resolution is near diffraction limited (lateral, 0.66 μm, axial 4.09 μm at the center; excitation wavelength = 970 nm; numerical aperture = 0.6) over a large range of excitation wavelengths. A fast three-dimensional scanning system allows efficient sampling of neural activity in arbitrary regions of interest across the entire imaging volume. We illustrate the use of the 2p-RAM by imaging neural activity in multiple, non-contiguous brain areas in transgenic mice expressing protein calcium sensors.

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    Svoboda Lab
    05/03/16 | Flow of information underlying a tactile decision in mice.
    Li N, Guo ZV, Chen T, Svoboda K
    Micro-, Meso- and Macro-Dynamics of the Brain:. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28802-4_3

    Motor planning allows us to conceive, plan, and initiate skilled motor behaviors. Motor planning involves activity distributed widely across the cortex. How this activity dynamically comes together to guide movement remains an unsolved problem. We study motor planning in mice performing a tactile decision behavior. Head-fixed mice discriminate object locations with their whiskers and report their choice by directional licking (“lick left”/“lick right”). A short-term memory component separates tactile “sensation” and “action” into distinct epochs. Using loss-of-function experiments, cell-type specific electrophysiology, and cellular imaging, we delineate when and how activity in specific brain areas and cell types drives motor planning in mice. Our results suggest that information flows serially from sensory to motor areas during motor planning. The motor cortex circuit maintains the motor plan during short-term memory and translates the motor plan into motor commands that drive the upcoming directional licking.

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    Svoboda LabDruckmann Lab
    04/13/16 | Robust neuronal dynamics in premotor cortex during motor planning.
    Li N, Daie K, Svoboda K, Druckmann S
    Nature. 2016 Apr 13:. doi: 10.1038/nature17643

    Neural activity maintains representations that bridge past and future events, often over many seconds. Network models can produce persistent and ramping activity, but the positive feedback that is critical for these slow dynamics can cause sensitivity to perturbations. Here we use electrophysiology and optogenetic perturbations in the mouse premotor cortex to probe the robustness of persistent neural representations during motor planning. We show that preparatory activity is remarkably robust to large-scale unilateral silencing: detailed neural dynamics that drive specific future movements were quickly and selectively restored by the network. Selectivity did not recover after bilateral silencing of the premotor cortex. Perturbations to one hemisphere are thus corrected by information from the other hemisphere. Corpus callosum bisections demonstrated that premotor cortex hemispheres can maintain preparatory activity independently. Redundancy across selectively coupled modules, as we observed in the premotor cortex, is a hallmark of robust control systems. Network models incorporating these principles show robustness that is consistent with data.

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    03/24/16 | Sensitive red protein calcium indicators for imaging neural activity.
    Dana H, Mohar B, Sun Y, Narayan S, Gordus A, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Holt GT, Hu A, Walpita D, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Bargmann CI, Ahrens MB, Schreiter ER, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    eLife. 2016 Mar 24;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.12727

    Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) allow measurement of activity in large populations of neurons and in small neuronal compartments, over times of milliseconds to months. Although GFP-based GECIs are widely used for in vivo neurophysiology, GECIs with red-shifted excitation and emission spectra have advantages for in vivo imaging because of reduced scattering and absorption in tissue, and a consequent reduction in phototoxicity. However, current red GECIs are inferior to the state-of-the-art GFP-based GCaMP6 indicators for detecting and quantifying neural activity. Here we present improved red GECIs based on mRuby (jRCaMP1a, b) and mApple (jRGECO1a), with sensitivity comparable to GCaMP6. We characterized the performance of the new red GECIs in cultured neurons and in mouse, Drosophila, zebrafish and C. elegans in vivo. Red GECIs facilitate deep-tissue imaging, dual-color imaging together with GFP-based reporters, and the use of optogenetics in combination with calcium imaging.

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    01/20/16 | A platform for brain-wide imaging and reconstruction of individual neurons.
    Economo MN, Clack NG, Lavis LD, Gerfen CR, Svoboda K, Myers EW, Chandrashekar J
    eLife. 2016 Jan 20;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10566

    The structure of axonal arbors controls how signals from individual neurons are routed within the mammalian brain. However, the arbors of very few long-range projection neurons have been reconstructed in their entirety, as axons with diameters as small as 100 nm arborize in target regions dispersed over many millimeters of tissue. We introduce a platform for high-resolution, three-dimensional fluorescence imaging of complete tissue volumes that enables the visualization and reconstruction of long-range axonal arbors. This platform relies on a high-speed two-photon microscope integrated with a tissue vibratome and a suite of computational tools for large-scale image data. We demonstrate the power of this approach by reconstructing the axonal arbors of multiple neurons in the motor cortex across a single mouse brain.

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