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Purkinje cell microzones mediate distinct kinematics of a single movement

Research group De Zeeuw
Publication year 2023
Published in Nature Communications
Authors François G C Blot, Joshua J White, Amy van Hattem, Licia Scotti, Vaishnavi Balaji, Youri Adolfs, R Jeroen Pasterkamp, C.I. De Zeeuw, Martijn Schonewille

The classification of neuronal subpopulations has significantly advanced, yet its relevance for behavior remains unclear. The highly organized flocculus of the cerebellum, known to fine-tune multi-axial eye movements, is an ideal substrate for the study of potential functions of neuronal subpopulations. Here, we demonstrate that its recently identified subpopulations of 9+ and 9- Purkinje cells exhibit an intermediate Aldolase C expression and electrophysiological profile, providing evidence for a graded continuum of intrinsic properties among PC subpopulations. By identifying and utilizing two Cre-lines that genetically target these floccular domains, we show with high spatial specificity that these subpopulations of Purkinje cells participate in separate micromodules with topographically organized connections. Finally, optogenetic excitation of the respective subpopulations results in movements around the same axis in space, yet with distinct kinematic profiles. These results indicate that Purkinje cell subpopulations integrate in discrete circuits and mediate particular parameters of single movements.

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