A Flexible Platform for Monitoring Cerebellum-Dependent Sensory Associative Learning.
Climbing fiber inputs to Purkinje cells provide instructive signals critical for cerebellum-dependent associative learning. Studying these signals in head-fixed mice facilitates the use of imaging, electrophysiological, and optogenetic methods. Here, a low-cost behavioral platform (~$1000) was developed that allows tracking of associative learning in head-fixed mice that locomote freely on a running wheel. The platform incorporates two common associative learning paradigms: eyeblink conditioning and delayed tactile startle conditioning. Behavior is tracked using a camera and the wheel movement by a detector. We describe the components and setup and provide a detailed protocol for training and data analysis. This platform allows the incorporation of optogenetic stimulation and fluorescence imaging. The design allows a single host computer to control multiple platforms for training multiple animals simultaneously.