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24 Janelia Publications

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    10/09/19 | Learning from action: reconsidering movement signaling in midbrain dopamine neuron activity.
    Coddington LT, Dudman JT
    Neuron. 2019 Oct 09;104(1):63-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.08.036

    Animals infer when and where a reward is available from experience with informative sensory stimuli and their own actions. In vertebrates, this is thought to depend upon the release of dopamine from midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Studies of the role of dopamine have focused almost exclusively on their encoding of informative sensory stimuli; however, many dopaminergic neurons are active just prior to movement initiation, even in the absence of sensory stimuli. How should current frameworks for understanding the role of dopamine incorporate these observations? To address this question, we review recent anatomical and functional evidence for action-related dopamine signaling. We conclude by proposing a framework in which dopaminergic neurons encode subjective signals of action initiation to solve an internal credit assignment problem.

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    09/19/19 | Reconstruction of 1,000 projection neurons reveals new cell types and organization of long-range connectivity in the mouse brain.
    Winnubst J, Bas E, Ferreira TA, Wu Z, Economo MN, Edson P, Arthur BJ, Bruns C, Rokicki K, Schauder D, Olbris DJ, Murphy SD, Ackerman DG, Arshadi C, Baldwin P, Blake R, Elsayed A, Hasan M, Ramirez D, Dos Santos B, Weldon M, Zafar A, Dudman JT, Gerfen CR, Hantman AW, Korff W, Sternson SM, Spruston N, Svoboda K, Chandrashekar J
    Cell. 2019 Sep 19;179(1):268-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.07.042

    Neuronal cell types are the nodes of neural circuits that determine the flow of information within the brain. Neuronal morphology, especially the shape of the axonal arbor, provides an essential descriptor of cell type and reveals how individual neurons route their output across the brain. Despite the importance of morphology, few projection neurons in the mouse brain have been reconstructed in their entirety. Here we present a robust and efficient platform for imaging and reconstructing complete neuronal morphologies, including axonal arbors that span substantial portions of the brain. We used this platform to reconstruct more than 1,000 projection neurons in the motor cortex, thalamus, subiculum, and hypothalamus. Together, the reconstructed neurons constitute more than 85 meters of axonal length and are available in a searchable online database. Axonal shapes revealed previously unknown subtypes of projection neurons and suggest organizational principles of long-range connectivity.

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    09/16/19 | A repeated molecular architecture across thalamic pathways.
    Phillips JW, Schulmann A, Hara E, Winnubst J, Liu C, Valakh V, Wang L, Shields BC, Korff W, Chandrashekar J, Lemire AL, Mensh B, Dudman JT, Nelson SB, Hantman AW
    Nature Neuroscience. 2019 Sep 16;22(11):1925-35. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0483-3

    The thalamus is the central communication hub of the forebrain and provides the cerebral cortex with inputs from sensory organs, subcortical systems and the cortex itself. Multiple thalamic regions send convergent information to each cortical region, but the organizational logic of thalamic projections has remained elusive. Through comprehensive transcriptional analyses of retrogradely labeled thalamic neurons in adult mice, we identify three major profiles of thalamic pathways. These profiles exist along a continuum that is repeated across all major projection systems, such as those for vision, motor control and cognition. The largest component of gene expression variation in the mouse thalamus is topographically organized, with features conserved in humans. Transcriptional differences between these thalamic neuronal identities are tied to cellular features that are critical for function, such as axonal morphology and membrane properties. Molecular profiling therefore reveals covariation in the properties of thalamic pathways serving all major input modalities and output targets, thus establishing a molecular framework for understanding the thalamus.

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    01/03/19 | High-throughput synapse-resolving two-photon fluorescence microendoscopy for deep-brain volumetric imaging .
    Meng G, Liang Y, Sarsfield S, Jiang W, Lu R, Dudman JT, Aponte Y, Ji N
    eLife. 2019 Jan 03;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40805

    Optical imaging has become a powerful tool for studying brains . The opacity of adult brains makes microendoscopy, with an optical probe such as a gradient index (GRIN) lens embedded into brain tissue to provide optical relay, the method of choice for imaging neurons and neural activity in deeply buried brain structures. Incorporating a Bessel focus scanning module into two-photon fluorescence microendoscopy, we extended the excitation focus axially and improved its lateral resolution. Scanning the Bessel focus in 2D, we imaged volumes of neurons at high-throughput while resolving fine structures such as synaptic terminals. We applied this approach to the volumetric anatomical imaging of dendritic spines and axonal boutons in the mouse hippocampus, and functional imaging of GABAergic neurons in the mouse lateral hypothalamus .

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    10/16/18 | Expanding the optogenetics toolkit by topological inversion of rhodopsins.
    Brown J, Behnam R, Coddington L, Tervo DG, Martin K, Proskurin M, Kuleshova E, Park J, Phillips J, Bergs AC, Gottschalk A, Dudman JT, Karpova AY
    Cell. 2018 Oct 16;175(4):1131-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.09.026

    Targeted manipulation of activity in specific populations of neurons is important for investigating the neural circuit basis of behavior. Optogenetic approaches using light-sensitive microbial rhodopsins have permitted manipulations to reach a level of temporal precision that is enabling functional circuit dissection. As demand for more precise perturbations to serve specific experimental goals increases, a palette of opsins with diverse selectivity, kinetics, and spectral properties will be needed. Here, we introduce a novel approach of "topological engineering"-inversion of opsins in the plasma membrane-and demonstrate that it can produce variants with unique functional properties of interest for circuit neuroscience. In one striking example, inversion of a Channelrhodopsin variant converted it from a potent activator into a fast-acting inhibitor that operates as a cation pump. Our findings argue that membrane topology provides a useful orthogonal dimension of protein engineering that immediately permits as much as a doubling of the available toolkit.

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    10/15/18 | The timing of action determines reward prediction signals in identified midbrain dopamine neurons.
    Coddington LT, Dudman JT
    Nature Neuroscience. 2018 Oct 15;21(11):1563-73. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0245-7

    Animals adapt their behavior in response to informative sensory cues using multiple brain circuits. The activity of midbrain dopaminergic neurons is thought to convey a critical teaching signal: reward-prediction error. Although reward-prediction error signals are thought to be essential to learning, little is known about the dynamic changes in the activity of midbrain dopaminergic neurons as animals learn about novel sensory cues and appetitive rewards. Here we describe a large dataset of cell-attached recordings of identified dopaminergic neurons as naive mice learned a novel cue-reward association. During learning midbrain dopaminergic neuron activity results from the summation of sensory cue-related and movement initiation-related response components. These components are both a function of reward expectation yet they are dissociable. Learning produces an increasingly precise coordination of action initiation following sensory cues that results in apparent reward-prediction error correlates. Our data thus provide new insights into the circuit mechanisms that underlie a critical computation in a highly conserved learning circuit.

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    03/24/18 | A proposed circuit computation in basal ganglia: History-dependent gain.
    Yttri EA, Dudman JT
    Movement Disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society. 2018 Mar 24:. doi: 10.1002/mds.27321

    In this Scientific Perspectives we first review the recent advances in our understanding of the functional architecture of basal ganglia circuits. Then we argue that these data can best be explained by a model in which basal ganglia act to control the gain of movement kinematics to shape performance based on prior experience, which we refer to as a history-dependent gain computation. Finally, we discuss how insights from the history-dependent gain model might translate from the bench to the bedside, primarily the implications for the design of adaptive deep brain stimulation. Thus, we explicate the key empirical and conceptual support for a normative, computational model with substantial explanatory power for the broad role of basal ganglia circuits in health and disease. © 2018 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

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    12/31/17 | A topographic axis of transcriptional identity in thalamus.
    Phillips JW, Schulman A, Hara E, Liu C, Shields BC, Korff W, Lemire A, Dudman JT, Nelson SB, Hantman AW
    bioRxiv. 2017 Dec 31:241315. doi: 10.1101/241315

    A fundamental goal in neuroscience is to uncover common principles by which different modalities of information are processed. In the mammalian brain, thalamus acts as the essential hub for forebrain circuits handling inputs from sensory, motor, limbic, and cognitive pathways. Whether thalamus imposes common transformations on each of these modalities is unknown. Molecular characterization offers a principled approach to revealing the organization of thalamus. Using near-comprehensive and projection-specific transcriptomic sequencing, we found that almost all thalamic nuclei fit into one of three profiles. These profiles lie on a single axis of genetic variance which is aligned with the mediolateral spatial axis of thalamus. Genes defining this axis of variance include receptors and ion channels, providing a systematic diversification of input/output transformations across the topography of thalamus. Single cell transcriptional profiling revealed graded heterogeneity within individual thalamic nuclei, demonstrating that a spectrum of cell types and potentially diverse input/output transforms exist within a given thalamic nucleus. Together, our data argue for an archetypal organization of pathways serving diverse input modalities, and provides a comprehensive organizational scheme for thalamus.

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    12/22/17 | Emergence of reward expectation signals in identified dopamine neurons.
    Coddington LT, Dudman JT
    bioRxiv. 2017 Dec 22:. doi: 10.1101/238881

    Coherent control of purposive actions emerges from the coordination of multiple brain circuits during learning. Dissociable brain circuits and cell-types are thought to preferentially participate in distinct learning mechanisms. For example, the activity of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons is proposed to primarily, or even exclusively, reflect reward prediction error signals in well-trained animals. To study the specific contribution of individual circuits requires observing changes before tight functional coordination is achieved. However, little is known about the detailed timing of the emergence of reward-related representations in dopaminergic neurons. Here we recorded activity of identified dopaminergic neurons as naive mice learned a novel stimulus-reward association. We found that at early stages of learning mDA neuron activity reflected both external (sensory) and internal (action initiation) causes of reward expectation. The increasingly precise correlation of action initiation with sensory stimuli rather than an evaluation of outcomes governed mDA neuron activity. Thus, our data demonstrate that mDA neuron activity early in learning does not reflect errors, but is more akin to a Hebbian learning signal - providing new insight into a critical computation in a highly conserved, essential learning circuit.

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    06/29/17 | Desensitized D2 autoreceptors are resistant to trafficking.
    Robinson BG, Bunzow JR, Grimm JB, Lavis LD, Dudman JT, Brown J, Neve KA, Williams JT
    Scientific Reports. 2017 Jun 29;7(1):4379. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04728-z

    Dendritic release of dopamine activates dopamine D2 autoreceptors, which are inhibitory G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), to decrease the excitability of dopamine neurons. This study used tagged D2 receptors to identify the localization and distribution of these receptors in living midbrain dopamine neurons. GFP-tagged D2 receptors were found to be unevenly clustered on the soma and dendrites of dopamine neurons within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). Physiological signaling and desensitization of the tagged receptors were not different from wild type receptors. Unexpectedly, upon desensitization the tagged D2 receptors were not internalized. When tagged D2 receptors were expressed in locus coeruleus neurons, a desensitizing protocol induced significant internalization. Likewise, when tagged µ-opioid receptors were expressed in dopamine neurons they too were internalized. The distribution and lack of agonist-induced internalization of D2 receptors on dopamine neurons indicate a purposefully regulated localization of these receptors.

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