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Science. 2019 Aug 9;365(6453). pii: eaaw5202. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw5202. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Cortical layer-specific critical dynamics triggering perception.

Author information

1
CNC Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
3
Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Lafayette, CO 80026, USA.
5
Department of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa 277-8564, Japan.
6
Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
7
CNC Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. deissero@stanford.edu.
8
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
9
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Perceptual experiences may arise from neuronal activity patterns in mammalian neocortex. We probed mouse neocortex during visual discrimination using a red-shifted channelrhodopsin (ChRmine, discovered through structure-guided genome mining) alongside multiplexed multiphoton-holography (MultiSLM), achieving control of individually specified neurons spanning large cortical volumes with millisecond precision. Stimulating a critical number of stimulus-orientation-selective neurons drove widespread recruitment of functionally related neurons, a process enhanced by (but not requiring) orientation-discrimination task learning. Optogenetic targeting of orientation-selective ensembles elicited correct behavioral discrimination. Cortical layer-specific dynamics were apparent, as emergent neuronal activity asymmetrically propagated from layer 2/3 to layer 5, and smaller layer 5 ensembles were as effective as larger layer 2/3 ensembles in eliciting orientation discrimination behavior. Population dynamics emerging after optogenetic stimulation both correctly predicted behavior and resembled natural internal representations of visual stimuli at cellular resolution over volumes of cortex.

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