Dr. Huan Luo's Lab: Discovery of Novel and Potent N-Methyl-d-aspartate Receptor Positive Allosteric Modulators with Antidepressant-like Activity in Rodent Models
Two forms of information – frequency (content) and ordinal position (structure) – have to be stored when retaining a sequence of auditory tones in working memory (WM). However, the neural representations and coding characteristics of content and structure, particularly during WM maintenance, remain elusive. Here, in two electroencephalography (EEG) studies in human participants (both sexes), by transiently perturbing the ‘activity-silent’ WM retention state and decoding the reactivated WM information, we demonstrate that content and structure are stored in a dissociative manner with distinct characteristics throughout WM process. First, each tone in the sequence is associated with two codes in parallel, characterizing its frequency and ordinal position, respectively. Second, during retention, a structural retrocue successfully reactivates structure but not content, whereas a following white noise triggers content but not structure. Third, structure representation remains stable whereas content code undergoes a dynamic transformation through memory progress. Finally, the noise-triggered content reactivations during retention correlate with subsequent WM behavior. Overall, our results support distinct content and structure representations in auditory WM and provide an efficient approach to access the silently stored WM information in the human brain. The dissociation of content and structure could facilitate efficient memory formation via generalizing stable structure to new auditory contents.
Original Link: https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2021/06/01/JNEUROSCI.0320-21.2021