Functional Segregation Within the Whisker-Barrel Neuraxis

Project: Research project

Project Details


The overarching hypothesis of the three aims of the present proposal is that neural activity in the rodent spinal V subnucleus interpolaris (SpVi, paralemniscal) is necessary for vibrissa-mediated object detection and orientation responses, while vibrissa-mediated object identification and tactile discrimination require neural activity in topographically patterned (barrelettes) V nucleus principalis (PrV, lemniscal). The Hartmann laboratory at Northwestern will perform Aim 2 of the proposed work, and also perform some data analysis for Aims 1 (Zeigler) and 3 (Jacquin). We will use viral transfection of AlstR to transiently silence select neurons in SpVi. We predict that whisking kinematics and spatial orientation behaviors will be disrupted, while performance on object identification and tactile discrimination tasks will be spared. We will also test the hypothesis that rapid onset, transient silencing of neurons in PrV will disrupt object identification and tactile discrimination, while sparing whisker-mediated detection and orientation responses and whisking kinematics. We will use a standard set of behavioral assays to compare the performance of rats in which either all neurons or select neuronal subtypes within SpVi or PrV have been inactivated. In addition to optoelectronic monitoring, behaviors will be videotaped (250 -1000 fps) for kinematic data. At the end of experiments, animals will be shipped to WULST for further electrophysiological characterization. The Hartmann lab will also advise on behavioral experiments in head-free mice in Aims 1 and 3.
Effective start/end date9/30/156/30/20


  • Washington University St. Louis (WU-16-153-MOD-6//5R01NS091439-05 REVISED)
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (WU-16-153-MOD-6//5R01NS091439-05 REVISED)


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