A circuit for motor cortical modulation of auditory cortical activity.
Normal hearing depends on the ability to distinguish self-generated sounds from other sounds, and this ability is thought to involve neural circuits that convey copies of motor command signals to various levels of the auditory system. Although such interactions at the cortical level are believed to facilitate auditory comprehension during movements and drive auditory hallucinations in pathological states, the synaptic organization and function of circuitry linking the motor and auditory cortices remain unclear. Here we describe experiments in the mouse that characterize circuitry well suited to transmit motor-related signals to the auditory cortex. Using retrograde viral tracing, we established that neurons in superficial and deep layers of the medial agranular motor cortex (M2) project directly to the auditory cortex and that the axons of some of these deep-layer cells also target brainstem motor regions. Using in vitro whole-cell physiology, optogenetics, and pharmacology, we determined that M2 axons make excitatory synapses in the auditory cortex but exert a primarily suppressive effect on auditory cortical neuron activity mediated in part by feedforward inhibition involving parvalbumin-positive interneurons. Using in vivo intracellular physiology, optogenetics, and sound playback, we also found that directly activating M2 axon terminals in the auditory cortex suppresses spontaneous and stimulus-evoked synaptic activity in auditory cortical neurons and that this effect depends on the relative timing of motor cortical activity and auditory stimulation. These experiments delineate the structural and functional properties of a corticocortical circuit that could enable movement-related suppression of auditory cortical activity.
Nelson, A; Schneider, DM; Takatoh, J; Sakurai, K; Wang, F; Mooney, R
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