In Vivo Functional Mapping of a Cortical Column at Single-Neuron Resolution

Carsten H. Tischbirek, Takahiro Noda, Manabu Tohmi, Antje Birkner, Israel Nelken, Arthur Konnerth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The cerebral cortex is organized in vertical columns that contain neurons with similar functions. The cellular micro-architecture of such columns is an essential determinant of brain dynamics and cortical information processing. However, a detailed understanding of columns is incomplete, even in the best studied cortical regions, and mostly restricted to the upper cortical layers. Here, we developed a two-photon Ca 2+ -imaging-based method for the serial functional mapping of all pyramidal layers of the mouse primary auditory cortex at single-neuron resolution in individual animals. We demonstrate that the best frequency-responsive neurons are organized in all-layers-crossing narrow columns, with fuzzy boundaries and a bandwidth of about one octave. This micro-architecture is, in many ways, different from what has been reported before, indicating the region and stimulus specificity of functional cortical columns in vivo. Tischbirek et al. report a two-photon Ca 2+ -imaging-based approach to map sensory-evoked neuronal activity from L2/3 to L6 of mouse cortex. In the primary auditory cortex, the authors identify functional microcolumns at cellular resolution that bring together large-scale tonotopy and locally heterogeneous frequency responses throughout all cortical layers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1319-1326.e5
JournalCell Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors


  • calcium imaging
  • cellular micro-architecture
  • cortical column
  • cortical layers
  • mouse auditory cortex
  • tonotopy
  • two-photon microscopy


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