A circuit mechanism of time-to-space conversion for perception

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Abstract

Sensory information in a temporal sequence is processed as a collective unit by the nervous system. The cellular mechanisms underlying how sequential inputs are incorporated into the brain has emerged as an important subject in neuroscience. Here, we hypothesize that information-bearing (IB) signals can be entrained and amplified by a clock signal, allowing them to efficiently propagate along in a feedforward circuit. IB signals can remain latent on individual dendrites of the receiving neurons until they are read out by an oscillatory clock signal. In such a way, the IB signals pass through the next neurons along a linear chain. This hypothesis identifies a cellular process of time-to-space and sound-to-map conversion in primary auditory cortex, providing insight into a mechanistic principle underlying the representation and memory of temporal sequences of information.

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