Neural dynamics in the rodent motor cortex enables flexible control of vocal timing

Banerjee, Arkarup, Chen, Feng, Druckmann, Shaul, Long, Michael A (January 2023) Neural dynamics in the rodent motor cortex enables flexible control of vocal timing. bioRxiv. (Submitted)

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DOI: 10.1101/2023.01.23.525252


Neocortical activity is thought to mediate voluntary control over vocal production, but the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. In a highly vocal rodent, the Al-ston’s singing mouse, we investigate neural dynamics in the orofacial motor cortex (OMC), a structure critical for vocal behavior. We first describe neural activity that is modulated by component notes (approx. 100 ms), likely representing sensory feed-back. At longer timescales, however, OMC neurons exhibit diverse and often persistent premotor firing patterns that stretch or compress with song duration (approx. 10 s). Using computational modeling, we demonstrate that such temporal scaling, acting via downstream motor production circuits, can enable vocal flexibility. These results provide a framework for studying hierarchical control circuits, a common design principle across many natural and artificial systems.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > motor cortex
organism description > animal > mammal > rodent
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Banerjee lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 23 January 2023
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2023 18:18
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2023 18:18
PMCID: PMC9900850
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