Midbrain dopamine neurons have been proposed to signal reward prediction errors as defined in temporal difference (TD) learning algorithms. While these models have been extremely powerful in interpreting dopamine activity, they typically do not use value derived through inference in computing errors. This is important because much real world behavior - and thus many opportunities for error-driven learning - is based on such predictions. Here, we show that error-signaling rat dopamine neurons respond to the inferred, model-based value of cues that have not been paired with reward and do so in the same framework as they track the putative cached value of cues previously paired with reward. This suggests that dopamine neurons access a wider variety of information than contemplated by standard TD models and that, while their firing conforms to predictions of TD models in some cases, they may not be restricted to signaling errors from TD predictions.
Animal experimentation: Experiments were performed at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program in accordance with NIH guidelines and an approved institutional animal care and use committee protocol (15-CNRB-108). The protocol was approved by the ACUC at NIDA-IRP (Assurance Number: A4149-01).
- Timothy EJ Behrens, University College London, United Kingdom
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Evidence increasingly suggests that dopaminergic neurons play a more sophisticated role in predicting rewards than previously thought.
Unbiased genetic screens implicated a number of uncharacterized genes in hearing loss, suggesting some biological processes required for auditory function remain unexplored. Loss of Kiaa1024L/Minar2, a previously understudied gene, caused deafness in mice, but how it functioned in the hearing was unclear. Here, we show that disruption of kiaa1024L/minar2 causes hearing loss in the zebrafish. Defects in mechanotransduction, longer and thinner hair bundles, and enlarged apical lysosomes in hair cells are observed in the kiaa1024L/minar2 mutant. In cultured cells, Kiaa1024L/Minar2 is mainly localized to lysosomes, and its overexpression recruits cholesterol and increases cholesterol labeling. Strikingly, cholesterol is highly enriched in the hair bundle membrane, and loss of kiaa1024L/minar2 reduces cholesterol localization to the hair bundles. Lowering cholesterol levels aggravates, while increasing cholesterol levels rescues the hair cell defects in the kiaa1024L/minar2 mutant. Therefore, cholesterol plays an essential role in hair bundles, and Kiaa1024L/Minar2 regulates cholesterol distribution and homeostasis to ensure normal hearing.