Circuit asymmetries underlie functional lateralization in the mouse auditory cortex

Levy RB, Marquarding T, Reid AP, Pun CM, Renier N, Oviedo HV 2019. Nature: s41467-019-10690-3.


The left hemisphere’s dominance in processing social communication has been known for over a century, but the mechanisms underlying this lateralized cortical function are poorly understood. Here, we compare the structure, function, and development of each auditory cortex (ACx) in the mouse to look for specializations that may underlie lateralization. Using Fos brain volume imaging, we found greater activation in the left ACx in response to voca- lizations, while the right ACx responded more to frequency sweeps. In vivo recordings identified hemispheric differences in spectrotemporal selectivity, reinforcing their functional differences. We then compared the synaptic connectivity within each hemisphere and dis- covered lateralized circuit-motifs that are hearing experience-dependent. Our results suggest a specialist role for the left ACx, focused on facilitating the detection of specific vocalization features, while the right ACx is a generalist with the ability to integrate spectrotemporal features more broadly.