Cell-Type-Specific Sensorimotor Processing in Striatal Projection Neurons during Goal-Directed Behavior

Neuron. 2015 Oct 21;88(2):298-305. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.08.039. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


Goal-directed sensorimotor transformation drives important aspects of mammalian behavior. The striatum is thought to play a key role in reward-based learning and action selection, receiving glutamatergic sensorimotor signals and dopaminergic reward signals. Here, we obtain whole-cell membrane potential recordings from the dorsolateral striatum of mice trained to lick a reward spout after a whisker deflection. Striatal projection neurons showed strong task-related modulation, with more depolarization and action potential firing on hit trials compared to misses. Direct pathway striatonigral neurons, but not indirect pathway striatopallidal neurons, exhibited a prominent early sensory response. Optogenetic stimulation of direct pathway striatonigral neurons, but not indirect pathway striatopallidal neurons, readily substituted for whisker stimulation evoking a licking response. Our data are consistent with direct pathway striatonigral neurons contributing a "go" signal for goal-directed sensorimotor transformation leading to action initiation. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Goals*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optogenetics / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reward*