The long-term goal of our investigations is to understand how neural circuits in the auditory system underlie the processing of sound. Understanding this circuitry is likely to have an impact on the diagnosis and treatment of clinically important central neuropathologies, including autism, schizophrenia, tinnitus, Tourette's syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. The central goal of this proposal is to understand how the output of the auditory cortex is used by downstream areas to effect behavior.
In Aim 1 we use electrophysiological methods to study responses in the auditory cortex and target areas during a sound categorization task.
In Aim 2 we use optogenetic methods to test the hypotheses that the activity of output neurons in the auditory cortex is causal in mediating behavior during the task. Finally in Aim 3, we test the hypothesis that learning to perform an auditory categorization modifies connections between neurons in their auditory cortex and their downstream targets. These studies will provide insight into how auditory cortex guides behavior, and provide a foundation for further study of role of these neurons in normal auditory function and disease, facilitating the development of treatments for psychiatric and neurological diseases.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal will test the function of a particular class of cortical neurons implicated in the etiology of clinically important neuropathologies, including Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome. If successful, our studies will lead to improved strategies for diagnosing and treating these and related disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
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Platt, Christopher
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor
United States
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Xiong, Qiaojie; Znamenskiy, Petr; Zador, Anthony M (2015) Selective corticostriatal plasticity during acquisition of an auditory discrimination task. Nature 521:348-51
Jaramillo, Santiago; Borges, Katharine; Zador, Anthony M (2014) Auditory thalamus and auditory cortex are equally modulated by context during flexible categorization of sounds. J Neurosci 34:5291-301
Jaramillo, Santiago; Zador, Anthony M (2014) Mice and rats achieve similar levels of performance in an adaptive decision-making task. Front Syst Neurosci 8:173
Znamenskiy, Petr; Zador, Anthony M (2013) Corticostriatal neurons in auditory cortex drive decisions during auditory discrimination. Nature 497:482-5