Basal ganglia output pathways for selection amongst incompatible actions

Details on how to join will be distributed on the Cortex Club mailing list. Details on how to join at

In the basal ganglia (BG), anatomically segregated and topographically-organized feedforward circuits are thought to modulate multiple behaviors in parallel. Inherent in this model is the assumption that there is a correspondence between anatomically and functionally defined circuits within and through the BG. Furthermore, layered on this model is the proposal that the direct and indirect pathways act together to select one behavior while repressing others. I will discuss recent results obtained with a variety of anatomical and optogenetic approaches that dissect functionally and anatomically defined pathways in the BG of mice. Our results confirm the parallel model of BG function, and suggest that the integration and competition of information relating to different behavior occurs largely outside of the BG. Indeed, follow-up studies indicated that, for lateralized and incompatible actions such as licking, this competition occurs in the BG output and its targets, such as the superior colliculus. Pathways-specific manipulations of the direct and indirect pathway in the BG indicate the these structures in each side of the brain control the colliculus bilaterally to simultaneously regulate incompatible ipsiversive and contraversive movements.