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Plomp, Gijs; Larderet, Ivan; Fiorini, Matilde and Busse, Laura ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6127-7754 (2019): Layer 3 Dynamically Coordinates Columnar Activity According to Spatial Context. In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 39, No. 2: pp. 281-294

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To reduce statistical redundancy of natural inputs and increase the sparseness of coding, neurons in primary visual cortex (V1) show tuning for stimulus size and surround suppression. This integration of spatial information is a fundamental, context-dependent neural operation involving extensive neural circuits that span across all cortical layers of a V1 column, and reflects both feedforward and feedback processing. However, how spatial integration is dynamically coordinated across cortical layers remains poorly understood. We recorded single- and multiunit activity and local field potentials across V1 layers of awake mice (both sexes) while they viewed stimuli of varying size and used dynamic Bayesian model comparisons to identify when laminar activity and interlaminar functional interactions showed surround suppression, the hallmark of spatial integration. We found that surround suppression is strongest in layer 3 (L3) and L4 activity, where suppression is established within ∼10 ms after response onset, and receptive fields dynamically sharpen while suppression strength increases. Importantly, we also found that specific directed functional connections were strongest for intermediate stimulus sizes and suppressed for larger ones, particularly for connections from L3 targeting L5 and L1. Together, the results shed light on the different functional roles of cortical layers in spatial integration and on how L3 dynamically coordinates activity across a cortical column depending on spatial context.

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