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Neuron. 2018 Aug 8;99(3):588-597.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.07.025.

Structuring of Abstract Working Memory Content by Fronto-parietal Synchrony in Primate Cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany; Animal Physiology Unit, Institute of Neurobiology, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. Electronic address: simon.jacob@tum.de.
2
Department of Neurosurgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany.
3
Animal Physiology Unit, Institute of Neurobiology, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

How is neuronal activity across distant brain regions orchestrated to allow multiple stimuli to be stored together in working memory, yet maintained separate for individual readout and protection from distractors? Using paired recordings in the prefrontal and parietal cortex of monkeys discriminating numbers of items (numerosities), we found that working memory content is structured by frequency-specific oscillatory synchrony. Parieto-frontal signaling in the beta band carried information about the most recent numerical input. Fronto-parietal coupling in the theta band differentiated between multiple memorized numerosities. Task-relevant and distracting stimuli were nested in spiking activity of single prefrontal neurons, but could be separated by reading out spikes at distinct phases of parietal theta oscillations. The strength of phase-locked, cross-regional memory coding predicted task performance. Frequency-specific communication channels in the fronto-parietal network could enable serial bottom-up and parallel top-down information transmission, providing an important mechanism to protect working memory from interference.

KEYWORDS:

multi-site electrophysiology; non-human primate; parietal cortex; prefrontal cortex; working memory

PMID:
30092215
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2018.07.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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