Cortical processing of auditory stimuli involves large populations of neurons with distinct individual response profiles. However, the functional organization and dynamics of local populations in the auditory cortex have remained largely unknown. Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging, we examined the response profiles and network dynamics of layer 2/3 neurons in the primary auditory cortex (A1) of mice in response to pure tones. We found that local populations in A1 were highly heterogeneous in the large-scale tonotopic organization. Despite the spatial heterogeneity, the tendency of neurons to respond together (measured as noise correlation) was high on average. This functional organization and high levels of noise correlations are consistent with the existence of partially overlapping cortical subnetworks. Our findings may account for apparent discrepancies between ordered large-scale organization and local heterogeneity.
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We thank H. Sompolinsky and E. Zohary for critically commenting on early versions of this manuscript. We thank N. Taaseh and A. Yaron-Jakoubovitch for their kind technical assistance during the early stages of this project. We thank Y. Rubin and J. Schiller for the software module of the line scan. We thank J. Linden for her help on cortical recordings in mice. We thank all the members of the Mizrahi laboratory and A. Eban-Rothschild for their helpful comments and discussions. This work was supported in part by a grant from Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy and by a European Research Council grant to A.M. (#203994), and by a grant of the European Union FP6 to I.N. (NOVELTUNE consortium).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Rothschild, G., Nelken, I. & Mizrahi, A. Functional organization and population dynamics in the mouse primary auditory cortex. Nat Neurosci 13, 353–360 (2010) doi:10.1038/nn.2484
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