The functional asymmetry of auditory cortex is reflected in the organization of local cortical circuits

Oviedo HV, Bureau I, Svoboda K, Zador AM 2010. Nat Neurosci: nn.2659


The primary auditory cortex (A1) is organized tonotopically, with neurons sensitive to high and low frequencies arranged in a rostro-caudal gradient. We used laser scanning photostimulation in acute slices to study the organization of local excitatory connections onto layers 2 and 3 (L2/3) of the mouse A1. Consistent with the organization of other cortical regions, synaptic inputs along the isofrequency axis (orthogonal to the tonotopic axis) arose predominantly within a column. Surprisingly, we found that local connections along the tonotopic axis differed from those along the isofrequency axis: some input pathways to L3 (but not L2) arose predominantly out-of- column. In vivo cell-attached recordings revealed differences between the sound-responsiveness of neurons in L2 and L3. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that auditory cortical microcircuitry is specialized to the unique one-dimensional representation of frequency in the auditory cortex.