Purkinje neurons of the cerebellum play a role in its functioning and have been shown to be bistable in zebrafish (Sengupta and Thirumalai,2015). The two states differ in their resting membrane potential as well as activity patterns. My broad interest lies in understanding the role of bistability in the functioning of Purkinje neurons and the mechanism that allows it to maintain and switch states.
Electrophysiological studies are limited by their sample size. In order to better understand the relevance of bistability at the level of the population, I plan to perform voltage imaging of Purkinje neurons to look at their distribution across the entire population and whether it changes when the animal is performing a motor task, such as an optomotor response.
The activity of any neuron is dependent on the ionic channels present in it. In case of zebrafish Purkinje neurons, this is not known. Using electrophysiology I aim to tease out the ionic currents that maintain bistability in these neurons and to further examine how serotonin- a key neuromodulator in cerebellum- modulates these channels and ultimately bistability.