Motor context dominates output from purkinje cell functional regions during reflexive visuomotor behaviours

Elife. 2019 Jan 25;8:e42138. doi: 10.7554/eLife.42138.


The cerebellum integrates sensory stimuli and motor actions to enable smooth coordination and motor learning. Here we harness the innate behavioral repertoire of the larval zebrafish to characterize the spatiotemporal dynamics of feature coding across the entire Purkinje cell population during visual stimuli and the reflexive behaviors that they elicit. Population imaging reveals three spatially-clustered regions of Purkinje cell activity along the rostrocaudal axis. Complementary single-cell electrophysiological recordings assign these Purkinje cells to one of three functional phenotypes that encode a specific visual, and not motor, signal via complex spikes. In contrast, simple spike output of most Purkinje cells is strongly driven by motor-related tail and eye signals. Interactions between complex and simple spikes show heterogeneous modulation patterns across different Purkinje cells, which become temporally restricted during swimming episodes. Our findings reveal how sensorimotor information is encoded by individual Purkinje cells and organized into behavioral modules across the entire cerebellum.

Keywords: Purkinje cells; behavior; cerebellum; neuroscience; sensorimotor integration; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Tail
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Zebrafish / physiology*