Complementary Roles of Primate Dorsal Premotor and Pre-Supplementary Motor Areas to the Control of Motor Sequences

Toshi Nakajima, Ryosuke Hosaka, Hajime Mushiake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We are able to temporally organize multiple movements in a purposeful manner in everyday life. Both the dorsal premotor (PMd) area and pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) are known to be involved in the performance of motor sequences. However, it is unclear how each area differentially contributes to controlling multiple motor sequences. To address this issue, we recorded singleunit activity in both areas while monkeys (one male, one female) performed sixteen motor sequences. Each sequence comprised either a series of two identical movements (repetition) or two different movements (nonrepetition). The sequence was initially instructed with visual signals but had to be remembered thereafter. Here, we showed that the activity of single neurons in both areas transitioned from reactive- to predictive encoding while motor sequences were memorized. In the memory-guided trials, in particular, the activity of PMd cells preferentially represented the second movement (2M) in the sequence leading to a reward generally regardless of the first movement (1M). Such activity frequently began even before the 1M in a prospective manner, and was enhanced in nonrepetition sequences. Behaviorally, a lack of the activity enhancement often resulted in premature execution of the 2M. In contrast, cells in pre-SMA instantiated particular sequences of actions by coordinating switching or nonswitching movements in sequence. Our findings suggest that PMd and pre-SMA play complementary roles within behavioral contexts: PMd preferentially controls the movement that leads to a reward rather than the sequence per se, whereas pre-SMA coordinates all elements in a sequence by integrating temporal orders of multiple movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6946-6965
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept 7


  • dorsal premotor area
  • memory
  • monkey
  • motor sequence
  • presupplementary motor area
  • single-unit


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