Streamlined sensory motor communication through cortical reciprocal connectivity in a visually guided eye movement task

Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 23;9(1):338. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02501-4.


Cortical computation is distributed across multiple areas of the cortex by networks of reciprocal connectivity. However, how such connectivity contributes to the communication between the connected areas is not clear. In this study, we examine the communication between sensory and motor cortices. We develop an eye movement task in mice and combine it with optogenetic suppression and two-photon calcium imaging techniques. We identify a small region in the secondary motor cortex (MOs) that controls eye movements and reciprocally connects with a rostrolateral part of the higher visual areas (VRL/A/AL). These two regions encode both motor signals and visual information; however, the information flow between the regions depends on the direction of the connectivity: motor information is conveyed preferentially from the MOs to the VRL/A/AL, and sensory information is transferred primarily in the opposite direction. We propose that reciprocal connectivity streamlines information flow, enhancing the computational capacity of a distributed network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology