The cerebellum is involved in cognition next to motor coordination. During complex tasks, climbing fiber input to the cerebellum can deliver seemingly opposite signals, covering both motor and non-motor functions. To elucidate this ambiguity, we hypothesized that climbing fiber activity represents the saliency of inputs leading to action-readiness. We addressed this hypothesis by recording Purkinje cell activity in lateral cerebellum of awake mice learning go/no-go decisions based on entrained saliency of different sensory stimuli. As training progressed, the timing of climbing fiber signals switched in a coordinated fashion with that of Purkinje cell simple spikes towards the moment of occurrence of the salient stimulus that required action. Trial-by-trial analysis indicated that emerging climbing fiber activity is not linked to individual motor responses or rewards per se, but rather reflects the saliency of a particular sensory stimulus that engages a general readiness to act, bridging the non-motor with the motor functions.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience