Spectral hallmark of auditory-tactile interactions in the mouse somatosensory cortex

Manning Zhang, Sung Eun Kwon, Manu Ben-Johny, Daniel H. O’Connor, John B. Issa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To synthesize a coherent representation of the external world, the brain must integrate inputs across different types of stimuli. Yet the mechanistic basis of this computation at the level of neuronal populations remains obscure. Here, we investigate tactile-auditory integration using two-photon Ca2+ imaging in the mouse primary (S1) and secondary (S2) somatosensory cortices. Pairing sound with whisker stimulation modulates tactile responses in both S1 and S2, with the most prominent modulation being robust inhibition in S2. The degree of inhibition depends on tactile stimulation frequency, with lower frequency responses the most severely attenuated. Alongside these neurons, we identify sound-selective neurons in S2 whose responses are inhibited by high tactile frequencies. These results are consistent with a hypothesized local mutually-inhibitory S2 circuit that spectrally selects tactile versus auditory inputs. Our findings enrich mechanistic understanding of multisensory integration and suggest a key role for S2 in combining auditory and tactile information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number64
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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