Altered Sensory Processing in the Somatosensory Cortex of the Mouse Mutant Barrelless

Science  29 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5257, pp. 1864-1867
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5257.1864


Mice homozygous for the barrelless (brl) mutation, mapped here to chromosome 11, lack barrel-shaped arrays of cell clusters termed “barrels” in the primary somatosensory cortex. Deoxyglucose uptake demonstrated that the topology of the cortical whisker representation is nevertheless preserved. Anterograde tracers revealed a lack of spatial segregation of thalamic afferents into individual barrel territories, and single-cell recordings demonstrated a lack of temporal discrimination of center from surround information. Thus, structural segregation of thalamic inputs is not essential to generate topological order in the somatosensory cortex, but it is required for discrete spatiotemporal relay of sensory information to the cortex.

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