Top-down modulation of sensory processing and mismatch in the mouse posterior parietal cortex

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An important function of the neocortex is to compare sensory feedback stimuli with internal predictions of the outside world and evoke mismatch responses to deviations, thus allowing expectations to be updated. The mechanisms behind sensory feedback mismatch and prediction formation however remain unclear. Here we created a learned association of an auditory-tactile stimulus sequence in awake head-fixed mice, where sound predicted an up-coming whisker stimulus, and introduced mismatches by omitting or altering the whisker stimulus intensity. We show that layer 2/3 posterior parietal cortex (PPC) neurons can report stimulus sequence mismatches, as well as display neural correlates of expectation which can be prolonged temporally. Inhibition of PPC-projecting secondary motor cortex M2 neurons suppressed these correlates, along with population mismatch responses, while conversely enhancing sensory processing. Hence, M2 can influence sensory processing in the PPC and potentially provide the prediction of sensory feedback from learned relationships within sequences of sensory stimuli.

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