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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Visual projections induced into the auditory pathway of ferrets. I. Novel inputs to primary auditory cortex (AI) from the LP/pulvinar complex and the topography of the MGN-AI projection.

The organization of cortical circuitry responsible for processing sensory information is a subject of intense examination. However, it is not known whether cortical cells in different sensory cortices process information in a way that is specific to the modality of their input, or whether there are commonalities in processing circuitry across different cortices. In our laboratory, this question has been investigated at the level of the geniculocortical pathway by routing information of one sensory modality into the processing circuitry of another modality. Appropriate early lesions cause growth of retinal axons into the auditory thalamus (MGN) (Sur et al., Science 242:1437, '88). Previously, we have established that the MGN carries the resulting visual information on to primary auditory cortex (AI), which thus contains visually responsive neurons and a topographic representation of the retina (Roe et al., Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 14:460, '88; Sur et al., Science 242:1437, '88). In this paper, we describe anomalous projections from the dorsal part of the thalamus, specifically the lateral posterior/pulvinar complex, into AI. This result demonstrates that thalamic neurons belonging to one modality can be induced to project to cortex that is normally of a different modality. In addition, we have studied in detail the nature of the MGN to AI projection in these animals as compared to the normal projection. The MGN to AI projection appears to be unaltered by the lesions; the location and topography of labelled cells are similar to that in normal animals. Because the MGN to AI projection is still highly divergent along the "isofrequency" dimension when compared to the tonotopic dimension, our data suggest that visual topography in the cortical map is created within the auditory cortex, perhaps by activity-dependent sharpening of the retinal representation during development.[1]


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