Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2006 Apr;9(4):543-51. Epub 2006 Mar 19.

A somatotopic map of vibrissa motion direction within a barrel column.

Author information

Harvard Program in Biophysics, Medical School Campus, Building C-2 Room 122, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Most mammals possess high-resolution visual perception, with primary visual cortices containing fine-scale, inter-related feature representations (for example, orientation and ocular dominance). Rats lack precise vision, but their vibrissa sensory system provides a precise tactile modality, including vibrissa-related 'barrel' columns in primary somatosensory cortex. Here, we examined the subcolumnar organization of direction preference and somatotopy using a new omni-directional, multi-vibrissa stimulator. We discovered a direction map that was systematically linked to somatotopy, such that neurons were tuned for motion toward their preferred surround vibrissa. This sub-barrel column direction map demonstrated an emergent refinement from layer IV to layer II/III. These data suggest that joint processing of multiple sensory features is a common property of high-resolution sensory systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center