Significance Statement This commentary centers on the novel findings by Shepard et al. (2016) published in eNeuro. The authors interrogated tonotopic map dynamics in auditory cortex by employing a natural sound learning paradigm, where mothers learn the importance of pup ultrasonic vocalizations, allowing Shepard et al. to probe the role of map area expansion for auditory learning. They demonstrate that auditory learning in this paradigm does not rely on map expansion, but is facilitated by increased inhibition of neurons tuned to low frequency sounds. Here we discuss the findings in light of the emerging enthusiasm for cortical inhibitory interneurons for circuit function, and hypothesize how a particular interneuron type might be causally involved for the intriguing results obtained by Shepard et al.
Authors report no conflict of interest.