Inhibitory control of synaptic signals preceding motor action in mouse frontal cortex [article]

Chunlei Zhang, Fani Koukouli, Manuela Allegra, Cantin Ortiz, Hsin-Lun Kao, Uwe Maskos, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Christoph Schmidt-Hieber
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Preparatory activity in the frontal cortex preceding movement onset is thought to represent a neuronal signature of motor planning. However, how excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs to frontal neurons are integrated during movement preparation remains unclear. Here we address this question by performing in vivo whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in the secondary motor cortex (MOs) of head-fixed mice moving on a treadmill. We find that both superficial and deep principal neurons show slowly
more » ... ncreasing (~10 s) membrane potential and spike rate ramps preceding the onset of spontaneous, self-paced running periods. By contrast, in animals trained to perform a goal-directed task, both membrane potential and spike ramps are characterized by larger amplitudes and accelerated kinetics during preparation of goal-driven movement. To determine the role of local inhibitory neurons in shaping these task-dependent preparatory signals, we chemogenetically suppressed the activity of specific interneuron subpopulations in untrained animals. Inactivation of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons leads to depolarized membrane potential ramps with increased amplitudes during preparation of movement, while inactivation of somatostatin-positive (SOM+) interneurons abolishes membrane potential ramps. A computational model of the local MOs circuit shows that SOM+-mediated inhibition of PV+ interneurons in conjunction with recurrent connectivity among the principal neurons can reproduce slow ramping signals, while plasticity of excitatory synapses on SOM+ interneurons can explain the acceleration of these signals in trained animals. Together, our data reveal that local inhibitory neurons play distinct roles in controlling task-dependent preparatory ramping signals when MOs neurons integrate external inputs during motor planning.
doi:10.1101/2021.07.05.451151 fatcat:jysu5eagnne3zmjjuseoxwiicm