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Title: Experience-Dependent Intrinsic Plasticity During Auditory Learning
Song learning in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) requires exposure to the song of a tutor, resulting in an auditory memory. This memory is the foundation for later sensorimotor learning, resulting in the production of a copy of the tutor's song. The cortical premotor nucleus HVC (proper name) is necessary for auditory and sensorimotor learning as well as the eventual production of adult song. We recently discovered that the intrinsic physiology of HVC neurons changes across stages of song learning, but are those changes the result of learning or are they experience-independent developmental changes? To test the role of auditory experience in driving intrinsic changes, patch-clamp experiments were performed comparing HVC neurons in juvenile birds with varying amounts of tutor exposure. The intrinsic physiology of HVC neurons changed as a function of tutor exposure. Counterintuitively, tutor deprivation resulted in juvenile HVC neurons showing an adult-like phenotype not present in tutor-exposed juveniles. Biophysical models were developed to predict which ion channels were modulated by experience. The models indicate that tutor exposure transiently suppressed the Ih and T-type Ca2+ currents in HVC neurons that target the basal ganglia, whereas tutor exposure increased the resting membrane potential and decreased the spike amplitude in HVC neurons that drive singing. Our findings suggest that intrinsic plasticity may be part of the mechanism for auditory learning in the HVC. More broadly, models of learning and memory should consider intrinsic plasticity as a possible mechanism by which the nervous system encodes the lasting effects of experience.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1656360
NSF-PAR ID:
10087588
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journal of neuroscience
Volume:
39
Issue:
7
ISSN:
0270-6474
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1206-1221
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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