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You are here: Home Data Sets Motor cortex alm-1 (anterior lateral motor cortex 1) About alm-1.

About alm-1.

Description of dataset alm-1 (anterior lateral motor cortex 1).

Summary of the data

This is the extracellular neurophysiology data set and behavior data set described in Li, N., Chen, T.W. et al Nature 2015. These experiments contain data from 19 animals and 99 recording sessions that were used to probe neural dynamics in the mouse anterior motor cortex (ALM) and its relationship to voluntary movement.  The data represent extracellular recordings from ALM neurons of adult mice performing a tactile decision behavior.  Mouse uses whisker to detect which of two possible positions a pole is in.  After a delay, the mice indicate the pole position by licking a sensor either on the right or left.  During the experiment extracellular recordings were made from ALM neurons using 32 channels.  Photostimulation was used to generate antidromic spikes in either layer 5 IT (Intratelencephalic) neuron axons through a cranial window over contra-lateral ALM or PT (Pyramidal Tract) neuron axons through an optical fiber in the ipsi-lateral brainstem.

In summay, the data consists of:

  • Behavior (task, timings, animal response)
  • Timings and type of photostimulation
  • Raw extracellular recordings
  • Processed data (Spike sorted units)
The following paper describes results from these experiments:
Nuo Li, Tsai-Wen Chen, Zengcai V. Guo, Charles R. Gerfen & Karel Svoboda.   A motor cortex circuit for motor planning and movement.  Nature 519, 51–56 (05 March 2015) PMID: 25731172 doi: 10.1038/nature14178
A paper describing similar experiments is:

Flow of cortical activity underlying a tactile decision in mice. Guo ZV, Li N, Huber D, Ophir E, Gutnisky D, Ting JT, Feng G, Svoboda K.” Neuron. 2014 Jan 8;81(1):179-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.020.


Format of the data

The data is provided in two versions: the most recent version (update Nov, 2015) containing data from all 99 sessions.  In additional, the previous version of the data (released, Sept. 2014) is included, which contains data from three of the sessions in a slightly different format.  For both versions, the data are stored in three types of MatLab files: one file contains the metadata describing the experiment; another contains the processed data; and the third contains raw voltage traces.  The most recent version also includes the processed data files files in the Neurodata Without Borders: Neurophysiology (NWB) format.  Total size of the data without the raw voltage traces is about 13GB (compressed).  Total size of the raw voltage traces is about (715 GB).  MatLab scripts are included which make demo plots of data and also reproduce some of the figures in the Li, et al., 2015 paper.  Details are given in file crcns_alm-1_data_description.pdf.

Conditions for usage of this data in publications

If you publish any work using the data, please cite the Nuo Li, et. al., publication above and also cite the data set in the following recommended format:

Nuo Li, Charles R Gerfen, Karel Svoboda (2014); Extracellular recordings from anterior lateral motor cortex (ALM) neurons of adult mice performing a tactile decision behavior.

The above citation uses a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which is assigned to the data set.  The DOI was created using DataCite ( and the California Digital Library, "EZID" system (

How to download the data

Data may be downloaded from:
A account is required. See the download link for more instructions.

Getting help using the data

If you have questions about using the data, please post them on the forum for using data sets.

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