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Single-neuron representation of learned complex sounds in the auditory cortex.

Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):4361. Published 2020 Aug 31. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18142-z

Authors/Editors: Wang M, Liao X, Li R, Liang S, Ding R, Li J, Zhang J, He W, Liu K, Pan J, Zhao Z, Li T, Zhang K, Li X, Lyu J, Zhou Z, Varga Z, Mi Y, Zhou Y, Yan J, Zeng S, Liu JK, Konnerth A, Nelken I, Jia H, Chen X.
Publication Date: 2020

09_wang

Abstract

The sensory responses of cortical neuronal populations following training have been extensively studied. However, the spike firing properties of individual cortical neurons following training remain unknown. Here, we have combined two-photon Ca2+ imaging and single-cell electrophysiology in awake behaving mice following auditory associative training. We find a sparse set (~5%) of layer 2/3 neurons in the primary auditory cortex, each of which reliably exhibits high-rate prolonged burst firing responses to the trained sound. Such bursts are largely absent in the auditory cortex of untrained mice. Strikingly, in mice trained with different multitone chords, we discover distinct subsets of neurons that exhibit bursting responses specifically to a chord but neither to any constituent tone nor to the other chord. Thus, our results demonstrate an integrated representation of learned complex sounds in a small subset of cortical neurons.

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