Serial processing of kinematic signals by cerebellar circuitry during voluntary whisking

Susu Chen, George J. Augustine, Paul Chadderton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Purkinje cells (PCs) in Crus 1 represent whisker movement via linear changes in firing rate, but the circuit mechanisms underlying this coding scheme are unknown. Here we examine the role of upstream inputs to PCs—excitatory granule cells (GCs) and inhibitory molecular layer interneurons—in processing of whisking signals. Patch clamp recordings in GCs reveal that movement is accompanied by changes in mossy fibre input rate that drive membrane potential depolarisation and high-frequency bursting activity at preferred whisker angles. Although individual GCs are narrowly tuned, GC populations provide linear excitatory drive across a wide range of movement. Molecular layer interneurons exhibit bidirectional firing rate changes during whisking, similar to PCs. Together, GC populations provide downstream PCs with linear representations of volitional movement, while inhibitory networks invert these signals. The exquisite sensitivity of neurons at each processing stage enables faithful propagation of kinematic representations through the cerebellum.
Original languageEnglish
Article number232
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Issue number232
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2017


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