The organization of intracortical connections by layer and cell class in the mouse brain
Julie A Harris,
Karla E. Hirokawa,
Jennifer D. Whitesell,
Joseph E. Knox,
Charles R. Gerfen,
Marty T. Mortrud,
Seung W Oh,
John W. Phillips,
Posted 01 Apr 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/292961 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1716-z)
Posted 01 Apr 2018
The mammalian cortex is a laminar structure composed of many cell types densely interconnected in complex ways. Recent systematic efforts to map the mouse mesoscale connectome provide comprehensive projection data on interareal connections, but not at the level of specific cell classes or layers within cortical areas. We present here a significant expansion of the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas, with ~1,000 new axonal projection mapping experiments across nearly all isocortical areas in 49 Cre driver lines. Using 13 lines selective for cortical layer-specific projection neuron classes, we identify the differential contribution of each layer/class to the overall intracortical connectivity patterns. We find layer 5 (L5) projection neurons account for essentially all intracortical outputs. L2/3, L4, and L6 neurons contact a subset of the L5 cortical targets. We also describe the most common axon lamination patterns in cortical targets. Most patterns are consistent with previous anatomical rules used to determine hierarchical position between cortical areas (feedforward, feedback), with notable exceptions. While diverse target lamination patterns arise from every source layer/class, L2/3 and L4 neurons are primarily associated with feedforward type projection patterns and L6 with feedback. L5 has both feedforward and feedback projection patterns. Finally, network analyses revealed a modular organization of the intracortical connectome. By labeling interareal and intermodule connections as feedforward or feedback, we present an integrated view of the intracortical connectome as a hierarchical network.
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