A Caltech Library Service

A Relative Position Code for Saccades in Dorsal Premotor Cortex

Pesaran, Bijan and Nelson, Matthew J. and Andersen, Richard A. (2010) A Relative Position Code for Saccades in Dorsal Premotor Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 (19). pp. 6527-6537. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC2887302. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1625-09.2010.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Spatial computations underlying the coordination of the hand and eye present formidable geometric challenges. One way for the nervous system to simplify these computations is to directly encode the relative position of the hand and the center of gaze. Neurons in the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd), which is critical for the guidance of arm-reaching movements, encode the relative position of the hand, gaze, and goal of reaching movements. This suggests that PMd can coordinate reaching movements with eye movements. Here, we examine saccade-related signals in PMd to determine whether they also point to a role for PMd in coordinating visual–motor behavior. We first compared the activity of a population of PMd neurons with a population of parietal reach region (PRR) neurons. During center-out reaching and saccade tasks, PMd neurons responded more strongly before saccades than PRR neurons, and PMd contained a larger proportion of exclusively saccade-tuned cells than PRR. During a saccade relative position-coding task, PMd neurons encoded saccade targets in a relative position code that depended on the relative position of gaze, the hand, and the goal of a saccadic eye movement. This relative position code for saccades is similar to the way that PMd neurons encode reach targets. We propose that eye movement and eye position signals in PMd do not drive eye movements, but rather provide spatial information that links the control of eye and arm movements to support coordinated visual–motor behavior.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralArticle
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:© 2010 the authors. Received April 4, 2009; revised Nov. 4, 2009; accepted Nov. 9, 2009. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants EY05522-21, MH62528-01, the Boswell Foundation, the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at Caltech, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency BioInfoMicro program. B.P. was supported by a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a Watson Program Investigator Award from NYSTAR, a McKnight Scholar Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.Wethank Tessa Yao for editorial assistance, Kelsie Pejsa and Leah Martel for animal care, and Viktor Shcherbatyuk for technical assistance.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
James G. Boswell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Burroughs Wellcome FundUNSPECIFIED
New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:19
PubMed Central ID:PMC2887302
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100602-101009002
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18516
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Jun 2010 18:47
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:44

Repository Staff Only: item control page