Motor control

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep-brain stimulation ameliorates parkinsonian symptoms, but it usually requires permanent implantation of hardware and connectors. Here, the authors show magnetothermal neuromodulation through the activation of TRPV1 can improve locomotor deficits in mouse models of Parkinson’s disease.

    • Sarah-Anna Hescham
    • , Po-Han Chiang
    •  & Yasin Temel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In Parkinson’s disease (PD), beta frequency oscillations are synchronised across the cortico-basal-ganglia circuit. The authors show in human participants that high beta frequencies propagate from the cortex to the basal ganglia via the hyperdirect pathway, indicating a pathophysiological role for this pathway in PD.

    • Ashwini Oswal
    • , Chunyan Cao
    •  & Vladimir Litvak
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The mechanisms stimulating adult neurogenesis are unclear. Here, the authors show the contribution of cholinergic and GABAergic signalling within the locomotor network to spinal cord neurogenesis during homeostasis and regeneration, showing neurogenesis depends on circuit activity in the adult zebrafish.

    • Weipang Chang
    • , Andrea Pedroni
    •  & Konstantinos Ampatzis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Surface two-photon imaging of the brain cannot access somatic calcium signals of neurons from deep layers of the macaque cortex. Here, the authors present an implant and imaging system for chronic motion-stabilized two-photon imaging of dendritic calcium signals to drive an optical brain-computer interface in macaques.

    • Eric M. Trautmann
    • , Daniel J. O’Shea
    •  & Krishna V. Shenoy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Disruption of FOXP2 cause Childhood Apraxia of Speech, a speech disorder marked by difficulties in accurately sequencing vocal motor actions. The authors show that disruption of FoxP2 in the adult songbird similarly disrupts birdsong and link dopaminergic signalling to disruptions in song production.

    • Lei Xiao
    • , Devin P. Merullo
    •  & Todd F. Roberts
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The full heterogeneity and different functional roles of cholinergic neurons in the adult spinal cord remain to be defined. Here the authors develop a targeted single nuclear RNA sequencing approach and use it to identify an array of cholinergic interneurons, as well as visceral and skeletal motor neurons.

    • Mor R. Alkaslasi
    • , Zoe E. Piccus
    •  & Claire E. Le Pichon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plastic reweighting of parallel fiber synaptic strength is a mechanism for the acquisition of cerebellum-dependent motor learning. Here, the authors found that optogenetic activation of PCs generates dendritic Ca2+ signals that induce plasticity in vitro and instruct learned changes to coincident eye movements in vivo.

    • Audrey Bonnan
    • , Matthew M. J. Rowan
    •  & Jason M. Christie
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep brain stimulation and epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord enable locomotion in humans with spinal cord injury (SCI) but the potential synergy between both approaches is unclear. The authors show that a complex technological approach is required to enable volitional walking in rats with SCI.

    • Marco Bonizzato
    • , Nicholas D. James
    •  & Gregoire Courtine
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Surprisingly, motor cortex becomes less involved in performing skilled motor behaviors as they are practiced. This is addressed by a model of two descending pathways featuring different types of learning: fast learning in a cortical pathway to maximize rewards and slow learning in a subcortical pathway to reinforce behaviors through repetition.

    • James M. Murray
    •  & G. Sean Escola
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) can offer an attractive approach for providing light stimulation in high-throughput optogenetics. Here, the authors report a microstructured OLED array that provides local photo-stimulation in Drosophila melanogaster larvae for controlled motor responses.

    • Caroline Murawski
    • , Stefan R. Pulver
    •  & Malte C. Gather
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Drosophila Moonwalker Descending Neurons (MDNs) alter leg motor circuit dynamics so that the fly walks backwards. The authors identify two MDN effector neurons that directly control the stance and swing phases of the backward stepping cycle, indicating distributed control of local motor circuits via command-type descending neurons.

    • Kai Feng
    • , Rajyashree Sen
    •  & Barry J. Dickson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Delay eyeblink conditioning depends on the simplex lobule-interposed nucleus pathway in the cerebellum. Here, the authors show that the vermis-fastigial nucleus-medullary reticular nucleus pathway modulates the conditioned and unconditioned eyelid closure during delay eyeblink conditioning.

    • Xiaolu Wang
    • , Si-yang Yu
    •  & Zhenyu Gao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Motor neurons are generally considered to be passive receivers of commands from other neurons. However, this study shows that motor neurons may shape locomotor behaviour by regulating premotor neurons, and that premotor neurons serve to integrate information from sensory neurons and motor neurons.

    • Ping Liu
    • , Bojun Chen
    •  & Zhao-Wen Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The rhesus macaque is an important model species in several branches of science, but the utility of this model would be enhanced by the ability to measure behaviour throughout pose. Here, the authors describe a deep learning-based markerless motion capture system for estimating 3D pose in freely moving macaques.

    • Praneet C. Bala
    • , Benjamin R. Eisenreich
    •  & Jan Zimmermann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Learning skilled movements requires evolution in neural population dynamics both within and across cortical regions. Here, the authors combine simultaneous recordings of motor and premotor cortex with computational methods to show that single-trial cross-area dynamics correlate with single-trial behavior performance and skill acquisition.

    • T. L. Veuthey
    • , K. Derosier
    •  & K. Ganguly
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Psychomotor stimulants increase dopamine levels in the striatum and promote locomotion but their effects on striatal pathways in vivo remain unclear. The authors show that cocaine increases the activity of direct and indirect pathway striatal neurons of awake mice via the orbitofrontal cortex.

    • Sebastiano Bariselli
    • , Nanami L. Miyazaki
    •  & Alexxai V. Kravitz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    We can flexibly coordinate our movements with external stimuli, but no circuit-level model exists to explain this ability. Inspired by fundamental concepts in control theory, the authors construct a modular neural circuit that captures human behavior in a wide range of temporal coordination tasks.

    • Seth W. Egger
    • , Nhat M. Le
    •  & Mehrdad Jazayeri
  • Article
    | Open Access

    ALS is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor neurons. Here, the authors showed that reduced levels of the VSP35 subunit in the retromer complex is a conserved ALS feature and identified a new lead compound increasing retromer stability ameliorating the disease phenotype.

    • Luca Muzio
    • , Riccardo Sirtori
    •  & Gianvito Martino
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How does the brain control the complex movements of hands? Here, by tracking human hand kinematics and applying multidimensional reduction techniques, the authors provide evidence that grasping involves a complex control system that regulates even the most subtle aspects of hand movement.

    • Yuke Yan
    • , James M. Goodman
    •  & Sliman J. Bensmaia
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Speech production is thought to rely on speech motor programs in the left cerebral hemisphere and on auditory feedback control by the right halve of the human brain. Here, the authors reveal that the left hemisphere preferentially controls temporal speech features while the right hemisphere controls speech by analyzing spectral features of the auditory feedback.

    • Mareike Floegel
    • , Susanne Fuchs
    •  & Christian A. Kell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a symptomatic treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that benefits only a minority of patients. Here, the authors show that activation of cortical somatostatin interneurons alleviates motor symptoms in a mouse model of PD and may constitute a less invasive alternative than DBS.

    • Sébastien Valverde
    • , Marie Vandecasteele
    •  & Laurent Venance
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Exercise promotes motor skill learning via unclear mechanisms. Here, the authors show that running wheel training results in neurotransmitter switching in caudal pedunculopontine nucleus neurons of mice. These neurons project to several brain regions, regulating the acquisition of motor skills.

    • Hui-quan Li
    •  & Nicholas C. Spitzer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Male fruitflies sing a patterned wing song during courtship. Here, the authors show that females sing a distinct song during copulation, which is controlled by sex-specific neurons, depends on seminal fluid from the male accessory gland and modulates latency of female remating with subsequent males.

    • Peter Kerwin
    • , Jiasheng Yuan
    •  & Anne C. von Philipsborn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The regulation of cellular neuronal properties distinct from synaptic plasticity has been proposed as a mechanism of functional network organization. Here, the authors show that the magnitude of five ion currents in basal ganglia projection song system forebrain neurons covary across life, rapidly and dynamically relating to learned features of individual zebra finches’ songs.

    • Arij Daou
    •  & Daniel Margoliash
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The cerebellum is critical in sensory-motor control and is structurally diverse across vertebrates. Here, the authors investigate the evolutionary relationship between locomotory mode and cerebellum architecture across squamates by integrating study of gene expression, cell distribution, and 3D morphology.

    • Simone Macrì
    • , Yoland Savriama
    •  & Nicolas Di-Poï
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Recent research in motor neuroscience has focused on optimal feedback control of single, simple tasks while robotics and AI are making progress towards flexible movement control in complex environments employing hierarchical control strategies. Here, the authors argue for a return to hierarchical models of motor control in neuroscience.

    • Josh Merel
    • , Matthew Botvinick
    •  & Greg Wayne
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Network activity in primary motor cortex (M1) controls dexterous limb movements. Here, the authors show that the M1 population code varies according to contextual motor demands that are conveyed via the secondary motor cortex (M2).

    • Wolfgang Omlor
    • , Anna-Sophia Wahl
    •  & Fritjof Helmchen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether marmosets can exhibit complex motor tasks in controlled experimental designs has not yet been demonstrated. Here, the authors show that marmoset monkeys can be trained to call on command in controlled operant conditioning tasks.

    • Thomas Pomberger
    • , Cristina Risueno-Segovia
    •  & Steffen R. Hage
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Model-based centralization schemes, though able to quantify locomotion control in animals and bio-inspired robots, are limited to specific systems. Here, the authors report a generalized information-based centralization scheme that unifies existing models and can be applied to different systems.

    • Izaak D. Neveln
    • , Amoolya Tirumalai
    •  & Simon Sponberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There are few studies of structural changes in ascending and descending sensorimotor pathways after stroke, beyond the corticospinal tract, in the brain. Here the authors identify changes in white matter structure in brainstem and spinal cord following stroke, and show its relationship to motor impairment.

    • Haleh Karbasforoushan
    • , Julien Cohen-Adad
    •  & Julius P. A. Dewald