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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 24;7(1):16240. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15938-w.

Population-scale organization of cerebellar granule neuron signaling during a visuomotor behavior.

Author information

1
Institute for Computational Biomedicine and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.
2
Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA.
3
NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science at NYU Shanghai, 3663 Zhongshan Road North, Shanghai, 200062, China.
4
Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA. msgoldman@ucdavis.edu.
5
Institute for Computational Biomedicine and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA. ema2004@med.cornell.edu.

Abstract

Granule cells at the input layer of the cerebellum comprise over half the neurons in the human brain and are thought to be critical for learning. However, little is known about granule neuron signaling at the population scale during behavior. We used calcium imaging in awake zebrafish during optokinetic behavior to record transgenically identified granule neurons throughout a cerebellar population. A significant fraction of the population was responsive at any given time. In contrast to core precerebellar populations, granule neuron responses were relatively heterogeneous, with variation in the degree of rectification and the balance of positive versus negative changes in activity. Functional correlations were strongest for nearby cells, with weak spatial gradients in the degree of rectification and the average sign of response. These data open a new window upon cerebellar function and suggest granule layer signals represent elementary building blocks under-represented in core sensorimotor pathways, thereby enabling the construction of novel patterns of activity for learning.

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