Multi-regional module-based signal transmission in mouse visual cortex

Neuron. 2022 May 4;110(9):1585-1598.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.01.027. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


The visual cortex is hierarchically organized, yet the presence of extensive recurrent and parallel pathways make it challenging to decipher how signals flow between neuronal populations. Here, we tracked the flow of spiking activity recorded from six interconnected levels of the mouse visual hierarchy. By analyzing leading and lagging spike-timing relationships among pairs of simultaneously recorded neurons, we created a cellular-scale directed network graph. Using a module-detection algorithm to cluster neurons based on shared connectivity patterns, we uncovered two multi-regional communication modules distributed across the hierarchy. The direction of signal flow both between and within these modules, differences in layer and area distributions, and distinct temporal dynamics suggest that one module transmits feedforward sensory signals, whereas the other integrates inputs for recurrent processing. These results suggest that multi-regional functional modules may be a fundamental feature of organization beyond cortical areas that supports signal propagation across hierarchical recurrent networks.

Keywords: Neuropixels; feedforward; functional network; modular; mouse; processing stages; recurrent; visual cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Visual Cortex* / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology