Purkinje Cell Activity Determines the Timing of Sensory-Evoked Motor Initiation

Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 22;33(12):108537. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108537.


Cerebellar neurons can signal sensory and motor events, but their role in active sensorimotor processing remains unclear. We record and manipulate Purkinje cell activity during a task that requires mice to rapidly discriminate between multisensory and unisensory stimuli before motor initiation. Neuropixels recordings show that both sensory stimuli and motor initiation are represented by short-latency simple spikes. Optogenetic manipulation of short-latency simple spikes abolishes or delays motor initiation in a rate-dependent manner, indicating a role in motor initiation and its timing. Two-photon calcium imaging reveals task-related coherence of complex spikes organized into conserved alternating parasagittal stripes. The coherence of sensory-evoked complex spikes increases with learning and correlates with enhanced temporal precision of motor initiation. These results suggest that both simple spikes and complex spikes govern sensory-driven motor initiation: simple spikes modulate its latency, and complex spikes refine its temporal precision, providing specific cellular substrates for cerebellar sensorimotor control.

Keywords: purkinje cells, simple spikes, complex spikestwo-photon imaging, optogenetics, neuropixels, cerebellum, multisensory, timing, motor initiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Optogenetics / methods*
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism*