Study motor skill learning by single-pellet reaching tasks in mice

J Vis Exp. 2014 Mar 4;(85):51238. doi: 10.3791/51238.

Abstract

Reaching for and retrieving objects require precise and coordinated motor movements in the forelimb. When mice are repeatedly trained to grasp and retrieve food rewards positioned at a specific location, their motor performance (defined as accuracy and speed) improves progressively over time, and plateaus after persistent training. Once such reaching skill is mastered, its further maintenance does not require constant practice. Here we introduce a single-pellet reaching task to study the acquisition and maintenance of skilled forelimb movements in mice. In this video, we first describe the behaviors of mice that are commonly encountered in this learning and memory paradigm, and then discuss how to categorize these behaviors and quantify the observed results. Combined with mouse genetics, this paradigm can be utilized as a behavioral platform to explore the anatomical underpinnings, physiological properties, and molecular mechanisms of learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Forelimb / physiology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*