Barrel Cortex Function - Special Issue in NEUROSCIENCE
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Barrel Cortex Function Special Issue Editorial
Christiaan P. J. de Kock, a* Heiko J. Luhmann b* and Miguel Maravall c*aVU Amsterdam, Integrative Neurophysiology, De Boelelaan 1085, Amsterdam, The Netherlandsb Univ Med Center, Institute of Physiology, Duesbergweg 6, Mainz, Germanyc University of Sussex, School of Life Sciences, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK
Sensorimotor circuits allow the coordination of sensoryinformation and motor behavior and are pivotal tosurvival in challenging and dynamic environments. Toorchestrate a broad spectrum of possible outcomes,sensorimotor circuits consist of intricate networks ofmany different sensory, motor and associative(sub)cortical regions and include complicated wiringschemes and extensive flow charts. Understanding theorganizational principles of the underlying brain circuitryfrom synapses to cell types and from microcircuits tocomplex networks and behavior would be a majorachievement.The primary somatosensory (or: barrel) cortex ofrodents is widely used for studying molecular, cellularand circuit mechanisms underlying sensory-guidedbehavior. This system encodes tactile stimuli acquiredby the large facial whiskers located on the snout of theanimals. The conscious perception of tactile stimuli isalso highly relevant in the daily life of humans whenperforming fine-grained motor behavior, objectrecognition or social interactions, although we mainlyuse receptors on the finger tips. Especially for therehabilitation of stroke or amputees, the manifoldaspects of somatosensory transduction and processinghave to be better understood to translate them intobetter therapy.In 2016, the 3rd in a series of bi-annual meetings onsensory cortical circuits – with an emphasis on thebarrel cortex – was organized by Fritjof Helmchen,Jochen Staiger, Heiko Luhmann and Christiaan de Kockin Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) and brought togetherexperts on cortical circuitry, behavior and related topics.This meeting series was prompted by a successfulinternational collaborative consortium, Research Unit1341 on Barrel Cortex Function (BA-CO-FUN), begun in2010 and supported by the German and Swiss nationalresearch science foundations (DFG-SNF). Amsterdam2016 followed meetings in 2012 (Barcelona FENSsatellite) and 2014 (Go¨ ttingen), was attended by over160 participants, and featured sessions on‘‘Development”, ‘‘Inhibition”, ‘‘Linking Circuits toBehavior” and ‘‘Active Somatosensation”. Initialdiscussions on this special issue in NEUROSCIENCEemerged during the Amsterdam 2016 meeting, fueledby inspiring presentations from both senior and juniorscientists. It was felt that the time was ripe for a widerangingreview of the field, along thematic lines similarto those represented at the meeting. Contributions tothis special issue feature several speakers from themeeting, as well as the work of experts not directlyrelated to the BA-CO-FUN meetings or consortium.In short, we bring together a series of manuscripts ontopics that continue to be at the center of interest of theconsortium and associated meetings: the first section(‘‘Barrel Cortex Function”) features work from Stu¨ ttgenand Schwarz (2018), Fox (2018), Argaman and Golomb(2018), Kwon et al. (2018), Helmchen et al. (2018), Baleand Maravall (2018), and Estebanez et al. (2018) on organizationalprinciples of (predominantly) barrel cortex. The second section (‘‘Sensory Periphery”) features manuscriptsfrom Campagner et al. (2018) and Takatoh et al.(2018) on the sensory organ of the somatosensory system:the whiskers and sensory afferents. The third section(‘‘Cortical Inhibition”) is on the structure and function ofinhibitory components of barrel circuits with contributionsfrom Hu and Vervaeke (2018), and Feldmeyer et al.(2018) The fourth section is dedicated to ‘‘Linking Circuitsto Behavior” with manuscripts from McElvain et al. (2018),Guest et al. (2018), Higashikubo and Moore (2018),Auffret et al. (2018), Sabri and Arabzadeh (2018),Schäfer and Hoebeek (2018), and Mohan et al. (2018).The special issue concludes with a section on changesobserved in sensory circuits during development or as aresult of neuronal activity (‘‘Development & Plasticity”)with contributions from Martini et al. (2018), Luhmannand Khazipov (2018), Jamann et al. (2018), and Papaleand Hooks (2018).
18. Jan. 2018