Neuroscience

Merging motor and sensory

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Science  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 69-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6461.69-c

Touch and corresponding whisker motion are represented in different layers of the brain.

PHOTO: LIFE ON WHITE/GETTY IMAGES

The posterior parietal cortex of the rat's brain is involved in a broad repertoire of behaviors. These range from integration of multiple sensory inputs to organizing the corresponding muscular responses. The function of the various microcircuit components is incompletely understood. Mohan et al. used several techniques to record from neurons in the different layers of the posterior parietal cortex in anesthetized and awake animals. The authors found that different parts of the processing circuits occurred in the different layers. Touch was encoded in layers 2 to 4, whereas exploratory whisker motion was represented in layers 2 to 4 and layer 6, but not in layer 5. These results may help the development of brain-machine interfaces needed to alleviate the effects of spinal cord injury.

J. Neurosci. 39, 7332 (2019).

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