Input- and Output-Specific Regulation of Serial Order Performance by Corticostriatal Circuits

Neuron. 2015 Oct 21;88(2):345-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.035.


The serial ordering of individual movements into sequential patterns is thought to require synaptic plasticity within corticostriatal circuits that route information through the basal ganglia. We used genetically and anatomically targeted manipulations of specific circuit elements in mice to isolate the source and target of a corticostriatal synapse that regulates the performance of a serial order task. This excitatory synapse originates in secondary motor cortex, terminates on direct pathway medium spiny neurons in the dorsolateral striatum, and is strengthened by serial order learning. This experience-dependent and synapse-specific form of plasticity may sculpt the balance of activity in basal ganglia circuits during sequential movements, driving a disparity in striatal output that favors the direct pathway. This disparity is necessary for execution of responses in serial order, even though both direct and indirect pathways are active during movement initiation, suggesting dynamic modulation of corticostriatal circuitry contributes to the choreography of behavioral routines.

Keywords: basal ganglia; circuit; medium spiny neuron; motor cortex; mouse; optogenetics; serial order; striatum; synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology