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87 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 87 results
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    06/04/18 | Motor control: three-dimensional metric of head movements in the mouse brain.
    Finkelstein A
    Current Biology : CB. 2018 Jun 04;28(11):R660-R662. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.079

    Many forms of human and animal behavior involve head movements. A new study reveals the neural code for three-dimensional head movements in the midbrain of freely moving mice.

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    04/18/18 | Genetic dissection of neural circuits: a decade of progress
    Luo L, Callaway EM, Svoboda K
    Neuron. 2018 Apr 18;98(2):256-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.03.040

    Tremendous progress has been made since Neuron published our Primer on genetic dissection of neural circuits 10 years ago. Since then, cell-type-specific anatomical, neurophysiological, and perturbation studies have been carried out in a multitude of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms, linking neurons and circuits to behavioral functions. New methods allow systematic classification of cell types and provide genetic access to diverse neuronal types for studies of connectivity and neural coding during behavior. Here we evaluate key advances over the past decade and discuss future directions.

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    03/28/18 | Low-dimensional and monotonic preparatory activity in mouse anterior lateral motor cortex.
    Inagaki HK, Inagaki M, Romani S, Svoboda K
    The Journal of Neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2018 Mar 28:. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3152-17.2018

    Neurons in multiple brain regions fire trains of action potentials anticipating specific movements, but this 'preparatory activity' has not been systematically compared across behavioral tasks. We compared preparatory activity in auditory and tactile delayed-response tasks in male mice. Skilled, directional licking was the motor output. The anterior lateral motor cortex (ALM) is necessary for motor planning in both tasks. Multiple features of ALM preparatory activity during the delay epoch were similar across tasks. First, majority of neurons showed direction-selective activity and spatially intermingled neurons were selective for either movement direction. Second, many cells showed mixed coding of sensory stimulus and licking direction, with a bias toward licking direction. Third, delay activity was monotonic and low-dimensional. Fourth, pairs of neurons with similar direction selectivity showed high spike-count correlations. Our study forms the foundation to analyze the neural circuit mechanisms underlying preparatory activity in a genetically tractable model organism.Short-term memories link events separated in time. Neurons in frontal cortex fire trains of action potentials anticipating specific movements, often seconds before the movement. This 'preparatory activity' has been observed in multiple brain regions, but has rarely been compared systematically across behavioral tasks in the same brain region. To identify common features of preparatory activity, we developed and compared preparatory activity in auditory and tactile delayed-response tasks in mice. The same cortical area is necessary for both tasks. Multiple features of preparatory activity, measured with high-density silicon probes, were similar across tasks. We find that preparatory activity is low-dimensional and monotonic. Our study forms the foundation to analyze the circuit mechanisms underlying preparatory activity in a genetically tractable model organism.

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    03/27/18 | Dynamic cues for whisker-based object localization: An analytical solution to vibration during active whisker touch.
    Vaxenburg R, Wyche I, Svoboda K, Efros AL, Hires SA
    PLoS Computational Biology. 2018 Mar 27;14(3):e1006032. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006032

    Vibrations are important cues for tactile perception across species. Whisker-based sensation in mice is a powerful model system for investigating mechanisms of tactile perception. However, the role vibration plays in whisker-based sensation remains unsettled, in part due to difficulties in modeling the vibration of whiskers. Here, we develop an analytical approach to calculate the vibrations of whiskers striking objects. We use this approach to quantify vibration forces during active whisker touch at a range of locations along the whisker. The frequency and amplitude of vibrations evoked by contact are strongly dependent on the position of contact along the whisker. The magnitude of vibrational shear force and bending moment is comparable to quasi-static forces. The fundamental vibration frequencies are in a detectable range for mechanoreceptor properties and below the maximum spike rates of primary sensory afferents. These results suggest two dynamic cues exist that rodents can use for object localization: vibration frequency and comparison of vibrational to quasi-static force magnitude. These complement the use of quasi-static force angle as a distance cue, particularly for touches close to the follicle, where whiskers are stiff and force angles hardly change during touch. Our approach also provides a general solution to calculation of whisker vibrations in other sensing tasks.

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    11/20/17 | Neural mechanisms of movement planning: motor cortex and beyond.
    Svoboda K, Li N
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2017 Nov 20;49:33-41. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.10.023

    Neurons in motor cortex and connected brain regions fire in anticipation of specific movements, long before movement occurs. This neural activity reflects internal processes by which the brain plans and executes volitional movements. The study of motor planning offers an opportunity to understand how the structure and dynamics of neural circuits support persistent internal states and how these states influence behavior. Recent advances in large-scale neural recordings are beginning to decipher the relationship of the dynamics of populations of neurons during motor planning and movements. New behavioral tasks in rodents, together with quantified perturbations, link dynamics in specific nodes of neural circuits to behavior. These studies reveal a neural network distributed across multiple brain regions that collectively supports motor planning. We review recent advances and highlight areas where further work is needed to achieve a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying motor planning and related cognitive processes.

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    11/08/17 | Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity.
    Jun JJ, Steinmetz NA, Siegle JH, Denman DJ, Bauza M, Barbarits B, Lee AK, Anastassiou CA, Andrei A, Aydın Ç, Barbic M, Blanche TJ, Bonin V, Couto J, Dutta B, Gratiy SL, Gutnisky DA, Häusser M, Karsh B, Ledochowitsch P, Lopez CM, Mitelut C, Musa S, Okun M, Pachitariu M, Putzeys J, Rich PD, Rossant C, Sun W, Svoboda K, Carandini M, Harris KD, Koch C, O'Keefe J, Harris TD
    Nature. 2017 Nov 08;551(7679):232-236. doi: 10.1038/nature24636

    Sensory, motor and cognitive operations involve the coordinated action of large neuronal populations across multiple brain regions in both superficial and deep structures. Existing extracellular probes record neural activity with excellent spatial and temporal (sub-millisecond) resolution, but from only a few dozen neurons per shank. Optical Ca(2+) imaging offers more coverage but lacks the temporal resolution needed to distinguish individual spikes reliably and does not measure local field potentials. Until now, no technology compatible with use in unrestrained animals has combined high spatiotemporal resolution with large volume coverage. Here we design, fabricate and test a new silicon probe known as Neuropixels to meet this need. Each probe has 384 recording channels that can programmably address 960 complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processing-compatible low-impedance TiN sites that tile a single 10-mm long, 70 × 20-μm cross-section shank. The 6 × 9-mm probe base is fabricated with the shank on a single chip. Voltage signals are filtered, amplified, multiplexed and digitized on the base, allowing the direct transmission of noise-free digital data from the probe. The combination of dense recording sites and high channel count yielded well-isolated spiking activity from hundreds of neurons per probe implanted in mice and rats. Using two probes, more than 700 well-isolated single neurons were recorded simultaneously from five brain structures in an awake mouse. The fully integrated functionality and small size of Neuropixels probes allowed large populations of neurons from several brain structures to be recorded in freely moving animals. This combination of high-performance electrode technology and scalable chip fabrication methods opens a path towards recording of brain-wide neural activity during behaviour.

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    09/14/17 | Q&A: The brain under a mesoscope: the forest and the trees.
    Sofroniew NJ
    BMC Biology. 2017 Sep 14;15(1):82. doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0426-y

    Neurons relevant to a particular behavior are often widely dispersed across the brain. To record activity in groups of individual neurons that might be distributed across large distances, neuroscientists and optical engineers have been developing a new type of microscope called a mesoscope. Mesoscopes have high spatial resolution and a large field of view. This Q&A will discuss this exciting new technology, highlighting a particular instrument, the two-photon random access mesoscope (2pRAM).

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    08/23/17 | Circuits in the rodent brainstem that control whisking in concert with other orofacial motor actions.
    McElvain LE, Friedman B, Karten HJ, Svoboda K, Wang F, Deschênes M, Kleinfeld D
    Neuroscience. 2017 Aug 23;368:152-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.08.034

    The world view of rodents is largely determined by sensation on two length scales. One is within the animal's peri-personal space. Sensorimotor control on this scale involves active movements of the nose, tongue, head, and vibrissa, along with sniffing to determine olfactory clues. The second scale involves the detection of more distant space through vision and audition; these detection processes also impact repositioning of the head, eyes, and ears. Here we focus on orofacial motor actions, primarily vibrissa-based touch but including nose twitching, head bobbing, and licking, that control sensation at short, peri-personal distances. The orofacial nuclei for control of the motor plants, as well as primary and secondary sensory nuclei associated with these motor actions, lie within the hindbrain. The current data support three themes: First, the position of the sensors is determined by the summation of two drive signals, i.e., a fast rhythmic component and an evolving orienting component. Second, the rhythmic component is coordinated across all orofacial motor actions and is phase-locked to sniffing as the animal explores. Reverse engineering reveals that the preBötzinger inspiratory complex provides the reset to the relevant premotor oscillators. Third, direct feedback from somatosensory trigeminal nuclei can rapidly alter motion of the sensors. This feedback is disynaptic and can be tuned by high-level inputs. The elucidation of synergistic coordination of orofacial motor actions to form behaviors, beyond that of a common rhythmic component, represents a work in progress that encompasses feedback through the midbrain and forebrain as well as hindbrain areas.

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    06/12/17 | Neural signatures of dynamic stimulus selection in Drosophila.
    Sun Y, Nern A, Franconville R, Dana H, Schreiter ER, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS, Hermundstad AM, Jayaraman V
    Nature Neuroscience. 2017 Jun 12;20(8):1104-13. doi: 10.1038/nn.4581

    Many animals orient using visual cues, but how a single cue is selected from among many is poorly understood. Here we show that Drosophila ring neurons—central brain neurons implicated in navigation—display visual stimulus selection. Using in vivo two-color two-photon imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators, we demonstrate that individual ring neurons inherit simple-cell-like receptive fields from their upstream partners. Stimuli in the contralateral visual field suppressed responses to ipsilateral stimuli in both populations. Suppression strength depended on when and where the contralateral stimulus was presented, an effect stronger in ring neurons than in their upstream inputs. This history-dependent effect on the temporal structure of visual responses, which was well modeled by a simple biphasic filter, may determine how visual references are selected for the fly's internal compass. Our approach highlights how two-color calcium imaging can help identify and localize the origins of sensory transformations across synaptically connected neural populations.

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    06/07/17 | Mechanisms underlying a thalamocortical transformation during active tactile sensation.
    Gutnisky DA, Yu J, Hires SA, To M, Bale M, Svoboda K, Golomb D
    PLoS Computational Biology. 2017 Jun 07;13(6):e1005576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005576

    During active somatosensation, neural signals expected from movement of the sensors are suppressed in the cortex, whereas information related to touch is enhanced. This tactile suppression underlies low-noise encoding of relevant tactile features and the brain's ability to make fine tactile discriminations. Layer (L) 4 excitatory neurons in the barrel cortex, the major target of the somatosensory thalamus (VPM), respond to touch, but have low spike rates and low sensitivity to the movement of whiskers. Most neurons in VPM respond to touch and also show an increase in spike rate with whisker movement. Therefore, signals related to self-movement are suppressed in L4. Fast-spiking (FS) interneurons in L4 show similar dynamics to VPM neurons. Stimulation of halorhodopsin in FS interneurons causes a reduction in FS neuron activity and an increase in L4 excitatory neuron activity. This decrease of activity of L4 FS neurons contradicts the "paradoxical effect" predicted in networks stabilized by inhibition and in strongly-coupled networks. To explain these observations, we constructed a model of the L4 circuit, with connectivity constrained by in vitro measurements. The model explores the various synaptic conductance strengths for which L4 FS neurons actively suppress baseline and movement-related activity in layer 4 excitatory neurons. Feedforward inhibition, in concert with recurrent intracortical circuitry, produces tactile suppression. Synaptic delays in feedforward inhibition allow transmission of temporally brief volleys of activity associated with touch. Our model provides a mechanistic explanation of a behavior-related computation implemented by the thalamocortical circuit.

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