Spatial learning requires the hippocampus, and the replay of spatial sequences during hippocampal sharp wave-ripple (SPW-R) events of quiet wakefulness and sleep is believed to play a crucial role. To test whether the coordination of VTA reward prediction error signals with these replayed spatial sequences could contribute to this process, we recorded from neuronal ensembles of the hippocampus and VTA as rats performed appetitive spatial tasks and subsequently slept. We found that many reward responsive (RR) VTA neurons coordinated with quiet wakefulness-associated hippocampal SPW-R events that replayed recent experience. In contrast, coordination between RR neurons and SPW-R events in subsequent slow wave sleep was diminished. Together, these results indicate distinct contributions of VTA reinforcement activity associated with hippocampal spatial replay to the processing of wake and SWS-associated spatial memory.
Animal experimentation: All procedures were approved by the Committee on Animal Care of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Protocol Number 0505-032-08) and followed the ethical guidelines of the US National Institutes of Health.
- Howard Eichenbaum, Boston University, United States
© 2015, Gomperts et al.
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Gustatory sensory neurons detect caloric and harmful compounds in potential food and convey this information to the brain to inform feeding decisions. To examine the signals that gustatory neurons transmit and receive, we reconstructed gustatory axons and their synaptic sites in the adult Drosophila melanogaster brain, utilizing a whole-brain electron microscopy volume. We reconstructed 87 gustatory projections from the proboscis labellum in the right hemisphere and 57 from the left, representing the majority of labellar gustatory axons. Gustatory neurons contain a nearly equal number of interspersed pre-and post-synaptic sites, with extensive synaptic connectivity among gustatory axons. Morphology- and connectivity-based clustering revealed six distinct groups, likely representing neurons recognizing different taste modalities. The vast majority of synaptic connections are between neurons of the same group. This study resolves the anatomy of labellar gustatory projections, reveals that gustatory projections are segregated based on taste modality, and uncovers synaptic connections that may alter the transmission of gustatory signals.
Categorization of everyday objects requires that humans form representations of shape that are tolerant to variations among exemplars. Yet, how such invariant shape representations develop remains poorly understood. By comparing human infants (6–12 months; N=82) to computational models of vision using comparable procedures, we shed light on the origins and mechanisms underlying object perception. Following habituation to a never-before-seen object, infants classified other novel objects across variations in their component parts. Comparisons to several computational models of vision, including models of high-level and low-level vision, revealed that infants’ performance was best described by a model of shape based on the skeletal structure. Interestingly, infants outperformed a range of artificial neural network models, selected for their massive object experience and biological plausibility, under the same conditions. Altogether, these findings suggest that robust representations of shape can be formed with little language or object experience by relying on the perceptually invariant skeletal structure.