Sequential transmission of task-relevant information in cortical neuronal networks

Nikolas A. Francis, Shoutik Mukherjee, Loren Koçillari, Stefano Panzeri, Behtash Babadi, Patrick O. Kanold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cortical processing of task-relevant information enables recognition of behaviorally meaningful sensory events. It is unclear how task-related information is represented within cortical networks by the activity of individual neurons and their functional interactions. Here, we use two-photon imaging to record neuronal activity from the primary auditory cortex of mice during a pure-tone discrimination task. We find that a subset of neurons transiently encode sensory information used to inform behavioral choice. Using Granger causality analysis, we show that these neurons form functional networks in which information transmits sequentially. Network structures differ for target versus non-target tones, encode behavioral choice, and differ between correct versus incorrect behavioral choices. Correct behavioral choices are associated with shorter communication timescales, larger functional correlations, and greater information redundancy. In summary, specialized neurons in primary auditory cortex integrate task-related information and form functional networks whose structures encode both sensory input and behavioral choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110878
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 31 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • CP: Neuroscience
  • Granger causality
  • auditory cortex
  • behavior
  • imaging
  • information
  • mouse
  • networks
  • noise correlations
  • short-term memory
  • two-photon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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