Reorganization between preparatory and movement population responses in motor cortex

Elsayed, G. F., Lara, A. H., Kaufman, M. T., Churchland, M. M., Cunningham, J. P. (October 2016) Reorganization between preparatory and movement population responses in motor cortex. Nat Commun, 7. p. 13239. ISSN 2041-1723 (Electronic)2041-1723 (Linking)

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DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13239


Neural populations can change the computation they perform on very short timescales. Although such flexibility is common, the underlying computational strategies at the population level remain unknown. To address this gap, we examined population responses in motor cortex during reach preparation and movement. We found that there exist exclusive and orthogonal population-level subspaces dedicated to preparatory and movement computations. This orthogonality yielded a reorganization in response correlations: the set of neurons with shared response properties changed completely between preparation and movement. Thus, the same neural population acts, at different times, as two separate circuits with very different properties. This finding is not predicted by existing motor cortical models, which predict overlapping preparation-related and movement-related subspaces. Despite orthogonality, responses in the preparatory subspace were lawfully related to subsequent responses in the movement subspace. These results reveal a population-level strategy for performing separate but linked computations.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > motor cortex
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: 27 October 2016
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2016 15:38
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2019 17:00
PMCID: PMC5095296
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