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Global brain dynamics embed the motor command sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Kato S*, Kaplan HS*, Schrodel T*, Skora S, Lindsay TH, Yemini E, Lockery S, Zimmer M




While isolated motor actions can be correlated with activities of neuronal networks, an unresolved problem is how the brain assembles these activities into organized behaviors like action sequences. Using brain-wide calcium imaging in Caenorhabditis elegans, we show that a large proportion of neurons across the brain share information by engaging in coordinated, dynamical network activity. This brain state evolves on a cycle, each segment of which recruits the activities of different neuronal sub-populations and can be explicitly mapped, on a single trial basis, to the animals' major motor commands. This organization defines the assembly of motor commands into a string of run-and-turn action sequence cycles, including decisions between alternative behaviors. These dynamics serve as a robust scaffold for action selection in response to sensory input. This study shows that the coordination of neuronal activity patterns into global brain dynamics underlies the high-level organization of behavior.

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