Our application's objective is to understand how the brain processes learned communication sounds. Auditory neurons in the avian song control nucleus HVc are highly selective for the bird's own song. This proposal seeks to discover the origins of song-selective auditory responses exhibited by HVc neurons. Three features of song-selectivity motivate the search for its neural substrate. First, song-selectivity arises through auditory experience. Therefore, finding where these responses first emerge within the songbird's brain will guide us to the site where auditory experience alters neural function. Second, song-selectivity affords a powerful system to examine the biophysics of combination sensitivity, a process relevant to the auditory processing of human speech. Third, song-selectivity is likely to facilitate song perception. In short, discovering the neural mechanisms of song selectivity can illuminate how auditory experience shapes behaviorally-relevant neural sensitivity to learned communication sounds.
The specific aims seek 1) to discover the nature of local contributions to song-selectivity in HVc; 2) to determine whether extrinsic sources provide song- selective information to HVc; and 3) to locate these extrinsic sources, if they exist. In vivo intracellular recordings will be used to record from identified HVc neurons to reveal the pattern of subthreshold inputs underlying song-selective responses. Whether presynaptic neurons providing song-selective subthreshold input onto HVc neurons are local or extrinsic to HVc will be explored by reversibly inactivating the HVc local circuit, then measuring whether song-selective subthreshold responses persist. To localize extrinsic sources of song-selective input to HVc, we will use spike-triggered averaging techniques in vivo, and we will use focal glutamate stimulation and intracellular staining in vitro to better understand the source and function of monosynaptic inputs onto identified HVc neurons. In short, we will combine in vitro and in vivo techniques to address the origins of song-selective responses in HVc, with the aim of understanding learned communication.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC002524-09
Application #
6603806
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-5 (01))
Program Officer
Shekim, Lana O
Project Start
1995-01-01
Project End
2005-06-30
Budget Start
2003-07-01
Budget End
2004-06-30
Support Year
9
Fiscal Year
2003
Total Cost
$217,140
Indirect Cost
Name
Duke University
Department
Biology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
044387793
City
Durham
State
NC
Country
United States
Zip Code
27705
Hisey, Erin; Kearney, Matthew Gene; Mooney, Richard (2018) A common neural circuit mechanism for internally guided and externally reinforced forms of motor learning. Nat Neurosci 21:589-597
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Tanaka, Masashi; Singh Alvarado, Jonnathan; Murugan, Malavika et al. (2016) Focal expression of mutant huntingtin in the songbird basal ganglia disrupts cortico-basal ganglia networks and vocal sequences. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:E1720-7
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Mooney, Richard (2014) Auditory-vocal mirroring in songbirds. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 369:20130179
Hamaguchi, Kosuke; Tschida, Katherine A; Yoon, Inho et al. (2014) Auditory synapses to song premotor neurons are gated off during vocalization in zebra finches. Elife 3:e01833

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