All motor behaviors require precise temporal coordination of different muscle groups. Breathing, for example, involves the sequential activation of numerous muscles hypothesized to be driven by a primary respiratory oscillator, the preBötzinger Complex, and at least one other as-yet unidentified rhythmogenic population. We tested the roles of Atoh1-, Phox2b-, and Dbx1-derived neurons (three groups that have known roles in respiration) in the generation and coordination of respiratory output. We found that Dbx1-derived neurons are necessary for all respiratory behaviors, whereas independent but coupled respiratory rhythms persist from at least three different motor pools after eliminating or silencing Phox2b- or Atoh1-expressing hindbrain neurons. Without Atoh1 neurons, however, the motor pools become temporally disorganized and coupling between independent respiratory oscillators decreases. We propose Atoh1 neurons tune the sequential activation of independent oscillators essential for the fine control of different muscles during breathing.
Animal experimentation: Experiments were done in accordance with the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. All experiments were approved by the Animal Studies Committee at Washington University School of Medicine (protocol # 20110249), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the College of William and Mary, and the Center for Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2014, Tupal et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
Recent studies of the Central Complex in the brain of the fruit fly have identified neurons with activity that tracks the animal’s heading direction. These neurons are part of a neuronal circuit with dynamics resembling those of a ring attractor. The homologous circuit in other insects has similar topographic structure but with significant structural and connectivity differences. We model the connectivity patterns of two insect species to investigate the effect of these differences on the dynamics of the circuit. We illustrate that the circuit found in locusts can also operate as a ring attractor but differences in the inhibition pattern enable the fruit fly circuit to respond faster to heading changes while additional recurrent connections render the locust circuit more tolerant to noise. Our findings demonstrate that subtle differences in neuronal projection patterns can have a significant effect on circuit performance and illustrate the need for a comparative approach in neuroscience.
The representation of position in the mammalian brain is distributed across multiple neural populations. Grid cell modules in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) express activity patterns that span a low-dimensional manifold which remains stable across different environments. In contrast, the activity patterns of hippocampal place cells span distinct low-dimensional manifolds in different environments. It is unknown how these multiple representations of position are coordinated. Here we develop a theory of joint attractor dynamics in the hippocampus and the MEC. We show that the system exhibits a coordinated, joint representation of position across multiple environments, consistent with global remapping in place cells and grid cells. In addition, our model accounts for recent experimental observations that lack a mechanistic explanation: variability in the firing rate of single grid cells across firing fields, and artificial remapping of place cells under depolarization, but not under hyperpolarization, of layer II stellate cells of the MEC.