Stable representation of sounds in the posterior striatum during flexible auditory decisions

Nat Commun. 2018 Apr 18;9(1):1534. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03994-3.


The neuronal pathways that link sounds to rewarded actions remain elusive. For instance, it is unclear whether neurons in the posterior tail of the dorsal striatum (which receive direct input from the auditory system) mediate action selection, as other striatal circuits do. Here, we examine the role of posterior striatal neurons in auditory decisions in mice. We find that, in contrast to the anterior dorsal striatum, activation of the posterior striatum does not elicit systematic movement. However, activation of posterior striatal neurons during sound presentation in an auditory discrimination task biases the animals' choices, and transient inactivation of these neurons largely impairs sound discrimination. Moreover, the activity of these neurons during sound presentation reliably encodes stimulus features, but is only minimally influenced by the animals' choices. Our results suggest that posterior striatal neurons play an essential role in auditory decisions, and provides a stable representation of sounds during auditory tasks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Corpus Striatum
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscimol / chemistry
  • Neostriatum / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Optical Fibers
  • Optogenetics
  • Sound*


  • Muscimol