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  1. Abstract

    Cortical representations supporting many cognitive abilities emerge from underlying circuits comprised of several different cell types. However, cell type-specific contributions to rate and timing-based cortical coding are not well-understood. Here, we investigated the role of parvalbumin neurons in cortical complex scene analysis. Many complex scenes contain sensory stimuli which are highly dynamic in time and compete with stimuli at other spatial locations. Parvalbumin neurons play a fundamental role in balancing excitation and inhibition in cortex and sculpting cortical temporal dynamics; yet their specific role in encoding complex scenes via timing-based coding, and the robustness of temporal representations to spatial competition, has not been investigated. Here, we address these questions in auditory cortex of mice using a cocktail party-like paradigm, integrating electrophysiology, optogenetic manipulations, and a family of spike-distance metrics, to dissect parvalbumin neurons’ contributions towards rate and timing-based coding. We find that suppressing parvalbumin neurons degrades cortical discrimination of dynamic sounds in a cocktail party-like setting via changes in rapid temporal modulations in rate and spike timing, and over a wide range of time-scales. Our findings suggest that parvalbumin neurons play a critical role in enhancing cortical temporal coding and reducing cortical noise, thereby improving representations of dynamic stimuli in complex scenes.

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  2. Abstract

    Rhythmic neural network activity has been broadly linked to behavior. However, it is unclear how membrane potentials of individual neurons track behavioral rhythms, even though many neurons exhibit pace-making properties in isolated brain circuits. To examine whether single-cell voltage rhythmicity is coupled to behavioral rhythms, we focused on delta-frequencies (1–4 Hz) that are known to occur at both the neural network and behavioral levels. We performed membrane voltage imaging of individual striatal neurons simultaneously with network-level local field potential recordings in mice during voluntary movement. We report sustained delta oscillations in the membrane potentials of many striatal neurons, particularly cholinergic interneurons, which organize spikes and network oscillations at beta-frequencies (20–40 Hz) associated with locomotion. Furthermore, the delta-frequency patterned cellular dynamics are coupled to animals’ stepping cycles. Thus, delta-rhythmic cellular dynamics in cholinergic interneurons, known for their autonomous pace-making capabilities, play an important role in regulating network rhythmicity and movement patterning.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. null (Ed.)
  5. Rubin, Jonathan (Ed.)
    Theta and gamma rhythms and their cross-frequency coupling play critical roles in perception, attention, learning, and memory. Available data suggest that forebrain acetylcholine (ACh) signaling promotes theta-gamma coupling, although the mechanism has not been identified. Recent evidence suggests that cholinergic signaling is both temporally and spatially constrained, in contrast to the traditional notion of slow, spatially homogeneous, and diffuse neuromodulation. Here, we find that spatially constrained cholinergic stimulation can generate theta-modulated gamma rhythms. Using biophysically-based excitatory-inhibitory (E-I) neural network models, we simulate the effects of ACh on neural excitability by varying the conductance of a muscarinic receptor-regulated K + current. In E-I networks with local excitatory connectivity and global inhibitory connectivity, we demonstrate that theta-gamma-coupled firing patterns emerge in ACh modulated network regions. Stable gamma-modulated firing arises within regions with high ACh signaling, while theta or mixed theta-gamma activity occurs at the peripheries of these regions. High gamma activity also alternates between different high-ACh regions, at theta frequency. Our results are the first to indicate a causal role for spatially heterogenous ACh signaling in the emergence of localized theta-gamma rhythmicity. Our findings also provide novel insights into mechanisms by which ACh signaling supports the brain region-specific attentional processing of sensory information. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Trace conditioning and extinction learning depend on the hippocampus, but it remains unclear how neural activity in the hippocampus is modulated during these two different behavioral processes. To explore this question, we performed calcium imaging from a large number of individual CA1 neurons during both trace eye-blink conditioning and subsequent extinction learning in mice. Our findings reveal that distinct populations of CA1 cells contribute to trace conditioned learning versus extinction learning, as learning emerges. Furthermore, we examined network connectivity by calculating co-activity between CA1 neuron pairs and found that CA1 network connectivity patterns also differ between conditioning and extinction, even though the overall connectivity density remains constant. Together, our results demonstrate that distinct populations of hippocampal CA1 neurons, forming different sub-networks with unique connectivity patterns, encode different aspects of learning. 
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  7. The inherent constraints on resolution, speed and field of view have hindered the development of high-speed, three-dimensional microscopy techniques over large scales. Here, we present a multiplane line-scan imaging strategy, which uses a series of axially distributed reflecting slits to probe different depths within a sample volume. Our technique enables the simultaneous imaging of an optically sectioned image stack with a single camera at frame rates of hundreds of hertz, without the need for axial scanning. We demonstrate the applicability of our system to monitor fast dynamics in biological samples by performing calcium imaging of neuronal activity in mouse brains and voltage imaging of cardiomyocytes in cardiac samples.

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