Stereotyped spatial patterns of functional synaptic connectivity in the cerebellar cortex

Elife. 2016 Mar 16;5:e09862. doi: 10.7554/eLife.09862.


Motor coordination is supported by an array of highly organized heterogeneous modules in the cerebellum. How incoming sensorimotor information is channeled and communicated between these anatomical modules is still poorly understood. In this study, we used transgenic mice expressing GFP in specific subsets of Purkinje cells that allowed us to target a given set of cerebellar modules. Combining in vitro recordings and photostimulation, we identified stereotyped patterns of functional synaptic organization between the granule cell layer and its main targets, the Purkinje cells, Golgi cells and molecular layer interneurons. Each type of connection displayed position-specific patterns of granule cell synaptic inputs that do not strictly match with anatomical boundaries but connect distant cortical modules. Although these patterns can be adjusted by activity-dependent processes, they were found to be consistent and predictable between animals. Our results highlight the operational rules underlying communication between modules in the cerebellar cortex.

Keywords: cerebellum; granule cell; microcircuit; module; mouse; neuroscience; purkinje cell; zebrin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / physiology*
  • Connectome*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.