Motor control

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dystonia is thought to be driven by impairments in cerebellar signalling. The authors use a mouse genetic approach to silence excitatory transmission in the inferior olive to cerebellum pathway, resulting in dystonia-like signs in the animals which can be alleviated using DBS stimulation of the pathway.

    • Joshua J. White
    •  & Roy V. Sillitoe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is thought that, when goals are uncertain, actions are generated by averaging multiple possible movement plans. Here the authors show that movement planning under uncertainty instead varies flexibly depending on the speed of the movement in order to maximize success.

    • Aaron L. Wong
    •  & Adrian M. Haith
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Frontal eye fields (FEF) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are coactivated during cognitive tasks, but the precise format of their interaction is not known. Here the authors show that phase coupling between ACC -FEF in theta and beta frequency bands better predicts behavioural performance.

    • Sahand Babapoor-Farrokhran
    • , Martin Vinck
    •  & Stefan Everling
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The generation of vasculature in organs is regulated by cross-talk between the developing tissue and specialized endothelial cells. Here, the authors show that vessel growth feeding the zebrafish spinal cord is coordinated by balancing neuron-derived pro-angiogenic ligand Vegfaa and its receptor, sFlt1.

    • Raphael Wild
    • , Alina Klems
    •  & Ferdinand le Noble
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Brain machine interfaces (BMI) enable sensorimotor control of movement yet the parameters that may affect these pathways are not known. Here the authors show systematically that increasing the rate of control from brain as well as feedback rates to the subject results in better performance on a BMI task in monkeys.

    • Maryam M. Shanechi
    • , Amy L. Orsborn
    •  & Jose M. Carmena
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors combinein vivopatch-clamp recordings and optogenetics to show that balanced dendritic excitation and inhibition provides a sensitive ‘push-pull’ mechanism that generates the bidirectional modulation of Purkinje cell SSp output necessary for normal locomotor behaviour.

    • Marta Jelitai
    • , Paolo Puggioni
    •  & Ian Duguid
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) depend on algorithms to decode neural signals, but these decoders cope poorly with signal variability. Here, authors report a BMI decoder which circumvents these problems by using a large and perturbed training dataset to improve performance with variable neural signals.

    • David Sussillo
    • , Sergey D. Stavisky
    •  & Krishna V. Shenoy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Single neuron responses are highly complex and dynamic yet they are able to flexibly represent behaviour through their collective activity. Here the authors demonstrate that population activity patterns of motor cortex neurons are orthogonal during successive task epochs that are linked through a simple linear function.

    • Gamaleldin F. Elsayed
    • , Antonio H. Lara
    •  & John P. Cunningham
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Decline in sensorimotor skills with age may be due to an overreliance on the prediction of the sensory consequences of one’s actions. Here the authors show that sensorimotor attenuation increases with age, and that this is associated with structural and functional changes in frontostriatal circuits.

    • Noham Wolpe
    • , James N. Ingram
    •  & James B. Rowe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mutations in the protein LRRK2 have been associated with Parkinson's disease but little is still known about the basic functions of the protein in the brain. Here the authors show that in fruit flies, LRRK2 regulates retrograde homeostatic synaptic compensation at the larval neuromuscular junction.

    • Jay Penney
    • , Kazuya Tsurudome
    •  & A. Pejmun Haghighi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Complex motions can be achieved by chunking together simple movements at the cost of producing smooth, efficient trajectories. Here the authors apply a new algorithm to monkeys learning complex motor sequences and show that optimization initially occurs within small chunks that are later combined.

    • Pavan Ramkumar
    • , Daniel E. Acuna
    •  & Konrad P. Kording
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Imaging cellular activity in mouse spinal cord has been historically difficult. Here the authors develop cellular resolution fluorescence imaging approaches in the spinal cord of behaving mice, and report distinct activity patterns of neurons and astrocytes in response to different sensory inputs.

    • Kohei J. Sekiguchi
    • , Pavel Shekhtmeyster
    •  & Axel Nimmerjahn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Surprising events affect ongoing behaviour and cognitive processing, yet the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Wessel and colleagues show that surprise recruits a motor suppression mechanism which may be implemented via the sub-thalamic nucleus and interrupts working memory performance.

    • Jan R. Wessel
    • , Ned Jenkinson
    •  & Adam R. Aron
  • Article
    | Open Access

    CSF-contacting neurons are known to project to locomotor CPGs although their relevance to active locomotion is unclear. Here, the authors show that these cells constitute a mechanosensory organ relying on PKD2L1 channels to detect spinal cord curvature and modulate locomotor frequency in freely moving animals.

    • Urs Lucas Böhm
    • , Andrew Prendergast
    •  & Claire Wyart
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cerebrospinal fluid-contacting (CSF-c) cells line the central canal of the vertebrate spinal cord yet their function remains unknown. Here, Javaland et al. show that CSF-c neurons in the lamprey respond to mechanical stimulation and lowered pH, effects likely mediated by ASIC3-channels.

    • Elham Jalalvand
    • , Brita Robertson
    •  & Sten Grillner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A key pathological alteration after brain and spinal cord injury is the disruption of the corticospinal tract (CST) axons that control the voluntary movements. Here the authors show that activating the intrinsic regenerative ability by inhibiting PTEN and SOCS3 expression promotes robust sprouting growth and recovery of skilled locomotion after injury.

    • Duo Jin
    • , Yuanyuan Liu
    •  & Zhigang He
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In online experiments with monkeys the authors demonstrate, for the first time, that incorporating neural dynamics substantially improves brain–machine interface performance. This result is consistent with a framework hypothesizing that motor cortex is a dynamical machine that generates movement.

    • Jonathan C. Kao
    • , Paul Nuyujukian
    •  & Krishna V. Shenoy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mutated tRNA synthetases can incorporate non-canonical amino acids into proteins. Erdmann et al. exploit this property to metabolically label newly synthesized proteins in selected cell types in Drosophila, and demonstrate their detection using proteomics (BONCAT) and fluorescence imaging (FUNCAT).

    • Ines Erdmann
    • , Kathrin Marter
    •  & Daniela C. Dieterich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Several prominent cognitive theories propose that in situations affording more than one action strategy, the brain prepares multiple competing movements prior to selecting one. Here the authors provide direct experimental evidence for this provocative but largely untested notion.

    • Jason P. Gallivan
    • , Kathryn S. Barton
    •  & J. Randall Flanagan
  • Article |

    Perception of mechanical tension is important for coordinated locomotion, and in Drosophila, mutations in stretch-sensitive TRPV channels grossly impair locomotor behaviour. Akitake et al. show that the Drosophila TRPC channel TRPγis, in contrast, specifically required for fine motor control.

    • Bradley Akitake
    • , Qiuting Ren
    •  & Craig Montell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Aggregate signals in cortex are spatiotemporally organized as propagating waves across the cortical surface. Here the authors demonstrate that neurons in primary motor cortex of monkeys spatially coordinate their spiking activity in a manner that closely matches wave propagation.

    • Kazutaka Takahashi
    • , Sanggyun Kim
    •  & Nicholas G. Hatsopoulos
  • Article |

    During vertebrate embryogenesis, migration of neuronal cell bodies and axons occurs simultaneously, but to what degree they influence each other’s development remains unclear. Here the authors find that in the mouse spinal cord commissural axons influence neuronal migration in two different ways.

    • Christophe Laumonnerie
    • , Yong Guang Tong
    •  & Sara I. Wilson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The differentiation of spinal motor neurons (MNs) from mouse and human embryonic stem cells provides opportunities to model MN development and disease, but most protocols produce only a subset of the MN subtypes found in vivo. Here the authors show that limb projecting lateral motor column MNs can be efficiently generated though the expression of Foxp1.

    • Katrina L. Adams
    • , David L. Rousso
    •  & Bennett G. Novitch
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Motor learning is characterized by diverse cognitive processes, which lack a unified theoretical framework. Here, Takiyama et al.present a model demonstrating that motor learning is determined by prospective errors, which they test in a specially designed visuomotor adaptation task.

    • Ken Takiyama
    • , Masaya Hirashima
    •  & Daichi Nozaki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects spinal cord motor neurons. Here the authors use induced pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons obtained from patients with ALS-linked mutations, and find functional deficits resulting from a progressive decrease in voltage-activated Na+ and K+currents that occur in the absence of cell death.

    • Anna-Claire Devlin
    • , Karen Burr
    •  & Gareth B. Miles
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The use of local field potential (LFP) brain signals may allow development of more efficient and robust neural prosthetic devices. Here, Hall et al. develop a method for estimation and biofeedback control of single-neuron firing rates using signals extracted from multiple low-frequency LFPs.

    • Thomas M. Hall
    • , Kianoush Nazarpour
    •  & Andrew Jackson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous studies have shown that repeated tool use results in extension of body representation. Ganesh et al. now show that in addition to extension of body representation, tool use is also accompanied by an immediate shortening of perceived arm length on a trial-by-trial basis.

    • G. Ganesh
    • , T. Yoshioka
    •  & T. Ikegami
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The striatum is required for evoking contraversive movements from each brain hemisphere, but it is unclear how. Here, Tecuapetla et al.use optogenetics to inhibit direct and indirect downstream striatal projection pathways, and show that activity in both pathways is necessary for contraversive movements.

    • Fatuel Tecuapetla
    • , Sara Matias
    •  & Rui M. Costa
  • Article |

    The peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α) is implicated in regulating the morphology and function of the neuromuscular junction. Here, Arnold et al.show that PGC-1α promotes the remodeling of pre- and postsynaptic neuromuscular junction sites, even in the absence of physical activity.

    • Anne-Sophie Arnold
    • , Jonathan Gill
    •  & Christoph Handschin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cerebellar development involves activity-dependent strengthening of synaptic contacts between climbing fibres and Purkinje cells. Kawamura et al.show that temporally clustered multiple climbing fibre inputs contribute to characteristic burst spiking in immature Purkinje cells before specific contacts are strengthened.

    • Yoshinobu Kawamura
    • , Hisako Nakayama
    •  & Masanobu Kano
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Motor cortex NMDA receptors have a key role in the acquisition of associative memories. Hasan et al. generate mice lacking NMDA receptor activity in the motor cortex and find that this impairs LTP, strengthening of synapses between somatosensory and motor cortices, and associative learning.

    • Mazahir T. Hasan
    • , Samuel Hernández-González
    •  & José M. Delgado-García
  • Article |

    Various homeostatic mechanisms have been implicated in regulating neuronal excitability. Kishore and Fetcho study homeostatic mechanisms in zebrafish and find they regulate topographic patterns of dendritic dynamics within pools of motoneurons, that map onto ordered patterns of recruitment during behaviour.

    • Sandeep Kishore
    •  & Joseph R. Fetcho
  • Article |

    Dopaminergic circuits are implicated in exploratory motor behaviour and are modulated by acetylcholine. Using transgenic mouse models, Patelet al. find that loss of forebrain acetylcholine results in exaggerated dopamine efflux and hyperactivity, whereas loss of brainstem acetylcholine leads to hypoactivity.

    • Jyoti C. Patel
    • , Elsa Rossignol
    •  & Robert P. Machold
  • Article |

    Speech is encoded by the firing patterns of speech-controlling neurons in different regions of the brain, which Tankus and colleagues analyse in this study. They find highly specific encoding of vowels in medial–frontal neurons and nonspecific tuning in superior temporal gyrus neurons.

    • Ariel Tankus
    • , Itzhak Fried
    •  & Shy Shoham
  • Article |

    Vocal communication is relatively common among fish: the midshipman being an example with a particularly wide dynamic range. In this paper, the authors demonstrate that different populations of hindbrain neurons are responsible for the frequency and duration of these calls.

    • Boris P. Chagnaud
    • , Robert Baker
    •  & Andrew H. Bass