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Talk by Dr. Florent Hais

IZKF Aachen, Medical Faculty of the RWTH University

05 Dec 2012 15:00
05 Dec 2012 16:15
INM-6, Bldg. 15.22, Seminar Room 3009, 1. OG

Two-photon imaging of neuronal population activity in the rodent somatosensory cortex during perceptual learning

The adult brain adapts to the ever-changing environment and its myriad of sensory inputs by undergoing neuronal plasticity. However, it is unknown how these long-term changes occur on the level of neuronal populations in primary sensory cortex. This requires following the activity of the same group of individual neurons over a long time period while the animal is learning to respond to sensory meaningful stimuli. In order to elucidate these processes we have measured neural network activity in the barrel cortex of mice during learning of a bilateral vibrotactile frequency discrimination task with two-photon imaging using the genetically encoded calcium indicator Yellow Cameleon 3.60 (YC 3.60). Mice learned to discriminate vibrotactile frequencies applied simultaneously to individual whiskers on the left and right sides of the snout. A local population of about 50 barrel cortex neurons expressing YC 3.60 was imaged for several months before and during the learning of the aforementioned two-alternative forced choice task. We gained insight in the relationship between behavioural performance and network activity and observed how this relationship evolves over months of imaging and training, including the dynamics of cortical maps representing contra and ipsilateral tactile inputs from the early to the late phase of learning.