New insights into the functional organization of the somatosensory cortex

The somatosensory cortex is responsible for conscious perception of touch, pressure, pain, temperature, and movement. In the brain, this type of sensory information is transmitted and processed in the superficial layer of the cortex, also called layer 2/3. Layer 2/3 neurons all have similar morphological and functional characteristics, but they tend to form functionally distinct microcircuits through specialized connections. The cellular and molecular mechanisms by which one neuron finds specific target neurons and eventually forms functional sub networks are not fully understood. To better understand how and why these specialized sub networks are created, researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) have combined electrophysiological and optical approaches to manipulate and monitor neuronal activity at single-cell resolution in intact, functional brain circuits. Advancing our understanding of neural circuits…


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