Topographic representation of the receptor surface is a fundamental feature of sensory cortical organization. This is imparted by the thalamus, which relays information from the periphery to the cortex. To better understand the rules governing thalamocortical connectivity and the origin of cortical maps, we used in vivo two-photon calcium imaging to characterize the properties of thalamic axons innervating different layers of mouse auditory cortex. Although tonotopically organized at a global level, we found that the frequency selectivity of individual thalamocortical axons is surprisingly heterogeneous, even in layers 3b/4 of the primary cortical areas, where the thalamic input is dominated by the lemniscal projection. We also show that thalamocortical input to layer 1 includes collaterals from axons innervating layers 3b/4 and is largely in register with the main input targeting those layers. Such locally varied thalamocortical projections may be useful in enabling rapid contextual modulation of cortical frequency representations.
- Andrew J King
- Yves Weissenberger
- Sebastian A Vasquez-Lopez
- Michael Lohse
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Christine Petit, Institut Pasteur, France
© 2017, Vasquez-Lopez et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Neural circuit formation and function require that diverse neurons are specified in appropriate numbers. Known strategies for controlling neuronal numbers involve regulating either cell proliferation or survival. We used the Drosophila visual system to probe how neuronal numbers are set. Photoreceptors from the eye-disc induce their target field, the lamina, such that for every unit eye there is a corresponding lamina unit (column). Although each column initially contains ~6 post-mitotic lamina precursors, only 5 differentiate into neurons, called L1-L5; the ‘extra’ precursor, which is invariantly positioned above the L5 neuron in each column, undergoes apoptosis. Here, we showed that a glial population called the outer chiasm giant glia (xgO), which resides below the lamina, secretes multiple ligands to induce L5 differentiation in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) from photoreceptors. By forcing neuronal differentiation in the lamina, we uncovered that though fated to die, the ‘extra’ precursor is specified as an L5. Therefore, two precursors are specified as L5s but only one differentiates during normal development. We found that the row of precursors nearest to xgO differentiate into L5s and, in turn, antagonise differentiation signalling to prevent the ‘extra’ precursors from differentiating, resulting in their death. Thus, an intricate interplay of glial signals and feedback from differentiating neurons defines an invariant and stereotyped pattern of neuronal differentiation and programmed cell death to ensure that lamina columns each contain exactly one L5 neuron.
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