Otoferlin deficiency leads to impaired cochlear synaptic transmission and is associated with progressive hearing loss in adults. Didhiti and Ying wondered if loss of Otoferlin also had effects on cortical development. They found that spontaneous and sound-driven cortical activity in the first two postnatal weeks was impaired in Otoferlin knockout mice. Moreover, they found that in these mice subplate neurons received exuberant connections from within the cortex. Thus, otoferlin deficiency has a powerful influence on cortical connections and spontaneous activity in early development even before complete deafness. Therefore, peripheral activity has the potential to sculpt cortical structures from the earliest ages, even before hearing impairment is diagnosed. Read the full paper here in Cerebral Cortex.
Kelson and Jonah explored what happens to sound processing as we age.
Read their cool results here: K. Shilling-Scrivo, J. Mittelstedt, P. O. Kanold , “Altered response dynamics and increased population correlation to tonal stimuli embedded in noise in aging auditory cortex”, J. Neuroscience 2021 (early release)
We knew that subplate neurons are the first cortical neurons to respond to sound. Ying and Didhiti now show in mice that altering peripheral activity can change subplate circuits in auditory cortex even before the ear canals open and before thalamus activates layer 4. Thus sensory experience can shape subplate circuits before the “traditional/classic” critical period. Read it here in Science Advances.
Many long discussions with my cherished colleagues Zoltan Molnar (Oxford University) and Heiko Luhmann (Gutenberg University Mainz) about transient circuits in development resulted in a joint review where we distill our thoughts. Read it here in Science: “Transient cortical circuits match spontaneous and sensory-driven activity during development“
The new lab is coming to life. The paint is dry, ethernet ports are active, air tables are installed, most lasers are on the tables, and the microscopes are not too far behind. Stay tuned….
Big team effort lead by Ying to track the functional development of L2/3 circuits and in vivo activity in A1. Turns out there is substantial transient functional hyperconnectivity esp. from subgranular layers paired with increased pairwise correlations during the critical period. Maybe these connections play a role in plasticity during the critical period? Read the whole story here in Cerebral Cortex.
Nik and Kayla developed a mouse school enabling high throughput behavioral testing! Read the paper from the lab introducing the ToneBox and our first observations using automated behavioral experiments. Build your own! Read it here in eNeuro