Delay-related activity in marmoset prefrontal cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2023 Mar 21;33(7):3523-3537. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhac289.


Persistent delay-period activity in prefrontal cortex (PFC) has long been regarded as a neural signature of working memory (WM). Electrophysiological investigations in macaque PFC have provided much insight into WM mechanisms; however, a barrier to understanding is the fact that a portion of PFC lies buried within the principal sulcus in this species and is inaccessible for laminar electrophysiology or optical imaging. The relatively lissencephalic cortex of the New World common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) circumvents such limitations. It remains unknown, however, whether marmoset PFC neurons exhibit persistent activity. Here, we addressed this gap by conducting wireless electrophysiological recordings in PFC of marmosets performing a delayed-match-to-location task on a home cage-based touchscreen system. As in macaques, marmoset PFC neurons exhibited sample-, delay-, and response-related activity that was directionally tuned and linked to correct task performance. Models constructed from population activity consistently and accurately predicted stimulus location throughout the delay period, supporting a framework of delay activity in which mnemonic representations are relatively stable in time. Taken together, our findings support the existence of common neural mechanisms underlying WM performance in PFC of macaques and marmosets and thus validate the marmoset as a suitable model animal for investigating the microcircuitry underlying WM.

Keywords: delayed-response task; electrophysiology; persistent firing; primate; working memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix* / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Macaca
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex* / physiology

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