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J Neurosci. 2013 Jan 23;33(4):1498-508. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3101-12.2013.

Laminar transformation of frequency organization in auditory cortex.

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Institute for Systems Research and Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


The mammalian neocortex is a six-layered structure organized into radial columns. Within sensory cortical areas, information enters in the thalamorecipient layer and is further processed in supragranular and infragranular layers. Within the neocortex, topographic maps of stimulus features are present, but whether topographic patterns of active neurons change between laminae is unknown. Here, we used in vivo two-photon Ca(2+) imaging to probe the organization of the mouse primary auditory cortex and show that the spatial organization of neural response properties (frequency tuning) within the thalamorecipient layer (L3b/4) is more homogeneous than in supragranular layers (L2/3). Moreover, stimulus-related correlations between pairs of neurons are higher in the thalamorecipient layer, whereas stimulus-independent trial-to-trial covariance is higher in supragranular neurons. These findings reveal a transformation of sensory representations that occurs between layers within the auditory cortex, which could generate sequentially more complex analysis of the acoustic scene incorporating a broad range of spectrotemporal sound features.

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