Local Axonal Conduction Shapes the Spatiotemporal Properties of Neural Sequences

Robert Egger, Yevhen Tupikov, Margot Elmaleh, Kalman A. Katlowitz, Sam E. Benezra, Michel A. Picardo, Felix Moll, Jörgen Kornfeld, Dezhe Z. Jin, Michael A. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Sequential activation of neurons has been observed during various behavioral and cognitive processes, but the underlying circuit mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate premotor sequences in HVC (proper name) of the adult zebra finch forebrain that are central to the performance of the temporally precise courtship song. We use high-density silicon probes to measure song-related population activity, and we compare these observations with predictions from a range of network models. Our results support a circuit architecture in which heterogeneous delays between sequentially active neurons shape the spatiotemporal patterns of HVC premotor neuron activity. We gauge the impact of several delay sources, and we find the primary contributor to be slow conduction through axonal collaterals within HVC, which typically adds between 1 and 7.5 ms for each link within the sequence. Thus, local axonal “delay lines” can play an important role in determining the dynamical repertoire of neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-548.e12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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