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Integration of locomotion and auditory signals in the mouse inferior colliculus

  1. Yoonsun Yang
  2. Joonyeol Lee
  3. Gunsoo Kim  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institute for Basic Science, Republic of Korea
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e52228 doi: 10.7554/eLife.52228


The inferior colliculus (IC) is the major midbrain auditory integration center, where virtually all ascending auditory inputs converge. Although the IC has been extensively studied for sound processing, little is known about the neural activity of the IC in moving subjects, as frequently happens in natural hearing conditions. Here, by recording neural activity in walking mice, we show that the activity of IC neurons is strongly modulated by locomotion, even in the absence of sound stimuli. Similar modulation was also found in hearing-impaired mice, demonstrating that IC neurons receive non-auditory, locomotion-related neural signals. Sound-evoked activity was attenuated during locomotion, and this attenuation increased frequency selectivity across the neuronal population, while maintaining preferred frequencies. Our results suggest that during behavior, integrating movement-related and auditory information is an essential aspect of sound processing in the IC.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1 through 4.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Yoonsun Yang

    Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science, Suwon, Republic of Korea
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Joonyeol Lee

    Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science, Suwon, Republic of Korea
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Gunsoo Kim

    Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science, Suwon, Republic of Korea
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9318-8329


Institute for Basic Science (IBS-R015-D1)

  • Gunsoo Kim

Institute for Basic Science (IBS-R015-D1)

  • Joonyeol Lee

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


Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to the protocol (SKKUIACUC2018-02-09-1) approved by the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) of the Sungkyunkwan University. Surgeries were performed under isofluorane or ketamine/xylazine anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Brice Bathellier, CNRS, France

Publication history

  1. Received: September 26, 2019
  2. Accepted: January 16, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 28, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 6, 2020 (version 2)


© 2020, Yang 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.


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