In the absence of salient sensory cues to guide behavior, animals must still execute sequences of motor actions in order to forage and explore. How such successive motor actions are coordinated to form global locomotion trajectories is unknown. We mapped the structure of larval zebrafish swim trajectories in homogeneous environments and found that trajectories were characterized by alternating sequences of repeated turns to the left and to the right. Using whole-brain light-sheet imaging, we identified activity relating to the behavior in specific neural populations that we termed the anterior rhombencephalic turning region (ARTR). ARTR perturbations biased swim direction and reduced the dependence of turn direction on turn history, indicating that the ARTR is part of a network generating the temporal correlations in turn direction. We also find suggestive evidence for ARTR mutual inhibition and ARTR projections to premotor neurons. Finally, simulations suggest the observed turn sequences may underlie efficient exploration of local environments.
Animal experimentation: All experiments presented in this study were conducted in accordance with the animal research guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (#13-98) and Institutional Biosafety Committee of Janelia Research Campus.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2016, Dunn 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.
Learned movements can be skillfully performed at different paces. What neural strategies produce this flexibility? Can they be predicted and understood by network modeling? We trained monkeys to perform a cycling task at different speeds, and trained artificial recurrent networks to generate the empirical muscle-activity patterns. Network solutions reflected the principle that smooth well-behaved dynamics require low trajectory tangling. Network solutions had a consistent form, which yielded quantitative and qualitative predictions. To evaluate predictions, we analyzed motor cortex activity recorded during the same task. Responses supported the hypothesis that the dominant neural signals reflect not muscle activity, but network-level strategies for generating muscle activity. Single-neuron responses were better accounted for by network activity than by muscle activity. Similarly, neural population trajectories shared their organization not with muscle trajectories, but with network solutions. Thus, cortical activity could be understood based on the need to generate muscle activity via dynamics that allow smooth, robust control over movement speed.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease characterised by immune cell infiltration resulting in lesions that preferentially affect periventricular areas of the brain. Despite research efforts to define the role of various immune cells in MS pathogenesis, the focus has been on a few immune cell populations while full-spectrum analysis, encompassing others such as natural killer (NK) cells, has not been performed. Here, we used single-cell mass cytometry (CyTOF) to profile the immune landscape of brain periventricular areas – septum and choroid plexus – and of the circulation from donors with MS, dementia and controls without neurological disease. Using a 37-marker panel, we revealed the infiltration of T cells and antibody-secreting cells in periventricular brain regions and identified a novel NK cell signature specific to MS. CD56bright NK cells were accumulated in the septum of MS donors and displayed an activated and migratory phenotype, similar to that of CD56bright NK cells in the circulation. We validated this signature by multiplex immunohistochemistry and found that the number of NK cells with high expression of granzyme K, typical of the CD56bright subset, was increased in both periventricular lesions and the choroid plexus of donors with MS. Together, our multi-tissue single-cell data shows that CD56bright NK cells accumulate in the periventricular brain regions of MS patients, bringing NK cells back to the spotlight of MS pathology.