1. Neuroscience
Download icon

Covert shift of attention modulates the value encoding in the orbitofrontal cortex

  1. Yang Xie
  2. Chechang Nie
  3. Tianming Yang  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Research Article
  • Cited 19
  • Views 1,866
  • Annotations
Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e31507 doi: 10.7554/eLife.31507

Abstract

During value-based decision making, we often evaluate the value of each option sequentially by shifting our attention, even when the options are presented simultaneously. The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been suggested to encode value during value-based decision making. Yet it is not known how its activity is modulated by attention shifts. We investigated this question by employing a passive viewing task that allowed us to disentangle effects of attention, value, choice and eye movement. We found that the attention modulated OFC activity through a winner-take-all mechanism. When we attracted the monkeys' attention covertly, the OFC neuronal activity reflected the reward value of the newly attended cue. The shift of attention could be explained by a normalization model. Our results strongly argue for the hypothesis that the OFC neuronal activity represents the value of the attended item. They provide important insights toward understanding the OFC's role in value-based decision making.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Yang Xie

    Key Laboratory of Primate Neurobiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Chechang Nie

    Key Laboratory of Primate Neurobiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Tianming Yang

    Key Laboratory of Primate Neurobiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    For correspondence
    tyang@ion.ac.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-6976-9246

Funding

Chinese Academy of Sciences (Hundreds of Talents Program)

  • Tianming Yang

Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (15JC1400104)

  • Tianming Yang

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were approved by the Animal Care Committee of Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ER-SIBS-221501P). All surgeries were performed under aseptic conditions. Monkeys were sedated with ketamine hydrochloride (5-15 mg/kg, i.m.), and anesthesia was then induced and maintained with isoflurane gas (1.5-2%, to effect). Every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Joni Wallis, University of California, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: August 24, 2017
  2. Accepted: March 12, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 13, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 27, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Xie 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.

Metrics

  • 1,866
    Page views
  • 327
    Downloads
  • 19
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Scopus, PubMed Central, Crossref.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

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)

Further reading

    1. Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
    2. Neuroscience
    Andrea Loreto et al.
    Research Article

    Axon loss underlies symptom onset and progression in many neurodegenerative disorders. Axon degeneration in injury and disease is promoted by activation of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-consuming enzyme SARM1. Here, we report a novel activator of SARM1, a metabolite of the pesticide and neurotoxin vacor. Removal of SARM1 completely rescues mouse neurons from vacor-induced neuron and axon death in vitro and in vivo. We present the crystal structure the Drosophila SARM1 regulatory domain complexed with this activator, the vacor metabolite VMN, which as the most potent activator yet know is likely to support drug development for human SARM1 and NMNAT2 disorders. This study indicates the mechanism of neurotoxicity and pesticide action by vacor, raises important questions about other pyridines in wider use today, provides important new tools for drug discovery, and demonstrates that removing SARM1 can robustly block programmed axon death induced by toxicity as well as genetic mutation.

    1. Neuroscience
    Simon A Sharples, Gareth B Miles
    Research Article Updated

    The size principle underlies the orderly recruitment of motor units; however, motoneuron size is a poor predictor of recruitment amongst functionally defined motoneuron subtypes. Whilst intrinsic properties are key regulators of motoneuron recruitment, the underlying currents involved are not well defined. Whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology was deployed to study intrinsic properties, and the underlying currents, that contribute to the differential activation of delayed and immediate firing motoneuron subtypes. Motoneurons were studied during the first three postnatal weeks in mice to identify key properties that contribute to rheobase and may be important to establish orderly recruitment. We find that delayed and immediate firing motoneurons are functionally homogeneous during the first postnatal week and are activated based on size, irrespective of subtype. The rheobase of motoneuron subtypes becomes staggered during the second postnatal week, which coincides with the differential maturation of passive and active properties, particularly persistent inward currents. Rheobase of delayed firing motoneurons increases further in the third postnatal week due to the development of a prominent resting hyperpolarization-activated inward current. Our results suggest that motoneuron recruitment is multifactorial, with recruitment order established during postnatal development through the differential maturation of passive properties and sequential integration of persistent and hyperpolarization-activated inward currents.