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Context-dependent Signaling Of Coincident Auditory And Visual Events In Primary Visual Cortex

Thomas Deneux, Evan R Harrell, Alexandre Kempf, Sebastian Ceballo, Anton Filipchuk, Brice Bathellier

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Detecting rapid, coincident changes across sensory modalities is essential for recognition of sudden threats or events. Using two-photon calcium imaging in identified cell types in awake, head-fixed mice, we show that, among the basic features of a sound envelope, loud sound onsets are a dominant feature coded by the auditory cortex neurons projecting to primary visual cortex (V1). In V1, a small number of layer 1 interneurons gates this cross-modal information flow in a context-dependent manner. In dark conditions, auditory cortex inputs lead to suppression of the V1 population. However, when sound input coincides with a visual stimulus, visual responses are boosted in V1, most strongly after loud sound onsets. Thus, a dynamic, asymmetric circuit connecting AC and V1 contributes to the encoding of visual events that are coincident with sounds.