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A line of dopamine-deficient (DD) mice was generated to allow selective restoration of normal dopamine signaling to specific brain regions. These DD floxed stop (DDfs) mice have a nonfunctional Tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) gene because of insertion of a NeoR gene flanked by lox P sites targeted to the first intron of the Th gene. DDfs mice have trace brain(More)
Dopamine has been implicated in mediating contextual modulation of motor behaviors and learning in many species. In songbirds, dopamine may act on the basal ganglia nucleus Area X to influence the neural activity that contributes to vocal learning and contextual changes in song variability. Neurons in midbrain dopamine centers, the substantia nigra pars(More)
The superficial superior colliculus (sSC) occupies a critical node in the mammalian visual system; it is one of two major retinorecipient areas, receives visual cortical input, and innervates visual thalamocortical circuits. Nonetheless, the contribution of sSC neurons to downstream neural activity and visually guided behavior is unknown and frequently(More)
Vocal learning in songbirds requires a basal ganglia circuit termed the anterior forebrain pathway (AFP). The AFP is not required for song production, and its role in song learning is not well understood. Like the mammalian striatum, the striatal component of the AFP, Area X, receives dense dopaminergic innervation from the midbrain. Since dopamine (DA)(More)
The neurotransmitter dopamine plays important roles in motor control, learning, and motivation in mammals and probably other animals as well. The strong dopaminergic projection to striatal regions and more moderate dopaminergic projections to other regions of the telencephalon predominantly arise from midbrain dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra(More)
Area X is a songbird basal ganglia nucleus that is required for vocal learning. Both Area X and its immediate surround, the medial striatum (MSt), contain cells displaying either striatal or pallidal characteristics. We used pathway-tracing techniques to compare directly the targets of Area X and MSt with those of the lateral striatum (LSt) and globus(More)
Vocal learning in songbirds requires an anatomically discrete and functionally dedicated circuit called the anterior forebrain pathway (AFP). The AFP is homologous to cortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loops in mammals. The basal ganglia portion of this pathway, Area X, shares many features characteristic of the mammalian striatum and pallidum,(More)
Dopaminergic neurons in mammals respond to rewards and reward-predicting cues, and are thought to play an important role in learning actions or sensory cues that lead to reward. The anatomical sources of input that drive or modulate such responses are not well understood; these ultimately define the range of behavior to which dopaminergic neurons(More)
Developmental genetic analysis has shown that embryos of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis depend more on zygotic gene products to direct axial patterning than do Drosophila embryos. In Drosophila, anterior axial patterning is largely established by bicoid, a rapidly evolving maternal-effect gene, working with hunchback, which is expressed both(More)
A striking feature of the nervous system is that it shows extensive plasticity of structure and function that allows animals to adjust to changes in their environment. Neural activity plays a key role in mediating experience-dependent neural plasticity and, thus, creates a link between the external environment, the nervous system, and behavior. One dramatic(More)