Cell-type specific function of GABAergic neurons in layers 2 and 3 of mouse barrel cortex
GABAergic neurons are a minor fraction of the neocortical neuronal population, but they are highly diverse in their features. The GABAergic neurons can be divided into three largely non-overlapping groups, defined through the expression of ionotropic serotonin receptors, parvalbumin or somatostatin. Membrane potential recordings from these genetically defined GABAergic neurons in layers 2 and 3 of mouse barrel cortex reveal that they are differentially modulated by whisker behavior. As a mouse begins to explore its environment by actively moving its whiskers, motor-related signals drive different activity patterns in specific types of GABAergic neurons, thereby promoting sensorimotor integration. The neural circuit mechanisms underlying such cell-type specific activity of GABAergic neurons are now being unraveled.