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Synaptic connections between layer 5B pyramidal neurons in mouse somatosensory cortex are independent of apical dendrite bundling

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Krieger,  Patrik
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Kuner,  Thomas
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Sakmann,  Bert
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Krieger, P., Kuner, T., & Sakmann, B. (2007). Synaptic connections between layer 5B pyramidal neurons in mouse somatosensory cortex are independent of apical dendrite bundling. The Journal of Neuroscience, 27(43), 11473-11482. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1182-07.2007.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-A8B9-1
Abstract
Rodent somatosensory barrel cortex is organized both physiologically and anatomically in columns with a cross-sectional diameter of 100-400 microm. The underlying anatomical correlate of physiologically defined, much narrower minicolumns (20-60 microm in diameter) remains unclear. The minicolumn has been proposed to be a fundamental functional unit in the cortex, and one anatomical component of a minicolumn is thought to be a cluster of pyramidal cells in layer 5B (L5B) that contribute their apical dendrite to distinct bundles. In transgenic mice with fluorescently labeled L5B pyramidal cells, which project to the pons and thalamus, we investigated whether the pyramidal cells of a cluster also share functional properties. We found that apical dendrite bundles in the transgenic mice were anatomically similar to apical dendrite bundles previously proposed to be part of minicolumns. We made targeted whole-cell recordings in acute brain slices from pairs of fluorescently labeled L5B pyramidal cells that were located either in the same cluster or in adjacent clusters and subsequently reconstructed their dendritic arbors. Pyramids within the same cluster had larger common dendritic domains compared with pyramids in adjacent clusters but did not receive more correlated synaptic inputs. L5B pyramids within and between clusters have similar connection probabilities and unitary EPSP amplitudes. Furthermore, intrinsically bursting and regular spiking pyramidal cells were both present within the same cluster. In conclusion, intrinsic electrical excitability and the properties of synaptic connections between this subtype of L5B pyramidal cells are independent of the cell clusters defined by bundling of their apical dendrites.