A Caltech Library Service

Cholinergic Mesopontine Signals Govern Locomotion and Reward through Dissociable Midbrain Pathways

Xiao, Cheng and Cho, Jounhong Ryan and Zhou, Chunyi and Treweek, Jennifer B. and Chan, Ken and McKinney, Sheri L. and Yang, Bin and Gradinaru, Viviana (2016) Cholinergic Mesopontine Signals Govern Locomotion and Reward through Dissociable Midbrain Pathways. Neuron, 90 (2). pp. 333-347. ISSN 0896-6273. PMCID PMC4840478.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (Document S1. Supplemental Experimental Procedures, Figures S1–S8, and Tables S1 and S2) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The mesopontine tegmentum, including the pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei (PPN and LDT), provides major cholinergic inputs to midbrain and regulates locomotion and reward. To delineate the underlying projection-specific circuit mechanisms, we employed optogenetics to control mesopontine cholinergic neurons at somata and at divergent projections within distinct midbrain areas. Bidirectional manipulation of PPN cholinergic cell bodies exerted opposing effects on locomotor behavior and reinforcement learning. These motor and reward effects were separable via limiting photostimulation to PPN cholinergic terminals in the ventral substantia nigra pars compacta (vSNc) or to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), respectively. LDT cholinergic neurons also form connections with vSNc and VTA neurons; however, although photo-excitation of LDT cholinergic terminals in the VTA caused positive reinforcement, LDT-to-vSNc modulation did not alter locomotion or reward. Therefore, the selective targeting of projection-specific mesopontine cholinergic pathways may offer increased benefit in treating movement and addiction disorders.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Gradinaru, Viviana0000-0001-5868-348X
Additional Information:© 2016 Elsevier. Received 19 October 2015, Revised 10 February 2016, Accepted 18 March 2016, Available online 20 April 2016. Published: April 20, 2016. We thank the entire V.G. lab for helpful discussions and Drs. David J. Anderson and Henry A. Lester for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by grants to V.G.: NIH Director’s New Innovator IDP20D017782-01 and PECASE; NIH/NIA 1R01AG047664-01 (C.X. is a co-investigator); NIH BRAIN 1U01NS090577; Heritage Medical Research Institute; Pew Charitable Trust; Michael J. Fox Foundation; Sloan Foundation; as well as by funding support from the Beckman Institute for the Resource Center on CLARITY, Optogenetics, and Vector Engineering for technology development and broad dissemination ( Work in the V.G. Laboratory at Caltech is also funded by the following awards (to V.G.): NIH/NIMH 1R21MH103824-01; Kimmel Foundation; Human Frontiers in Science Program; Mallinckrodt Foundation; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF2809 to the Caltech Programmable Molecular Technology Initiative; Caltech-GIST; Caltech-CBEA; Caltech-CEMI; Caltech-City of Hope Biomedical Initiative. C.X. is partly supported by Michael J. Fox Foundation. J.B.T. acknowledges the Colvin Postdoctoral Fellowship. K.C. is supported by the NIH Predoctoral Training in Biology and Chemistry (2T32GM007616-36).
Group:Heritage Medical Research Institute, Caltech Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions (CEMI)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Heritage Medical Research InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Pew Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
Michael J. Fox FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Beckman InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF2809
Caltech-GIST SURF Exchange ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions (CEMI)UNSPECIFIED
Caltech-City of Hope Biomedical InitiativeUNSPECIFIED
Colvin Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NIH Predoctoral Fellowship2T32GM007616-36
Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:mesopontine tegmentum; pedunculopontine nucleus; laterodorsal tegmental nucleus; cholinergic neuron; substantia nigra pars compacta; ventral tegmental area; locomotion; conditioned place preference; optogenetics; retrograde tracing
PubMed Central ID:PMC4840478
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160420-090626768
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Cheng Xiao, Jounhong Ryan Cho, Chunyi Zhou, Jennifer B. Treweek, Ken Chan, Sheri L. McKinney, Bin Yang, Viviana Gradinaru, Cholinergic Mesopontine Signals Govern Locomotion and Reward through Dissociable Midbrain Pathways, Neuron, Volume 90, Issue 2, 20 April 2016, Pages 333-347, ISSN 0896-6273, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:66298
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:20 Apr 2016 16:39
Last Modified:20 Oct 2017 22:32

Repository Staff Only: item control page