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Vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing (VIP) interneurons in cortex regulate feedback inhibition of pyramidal neurons through suppression of somatostatin-expressing (SST) interneurons and, reciprocally, SST neurons inhibit VIP neurons. Here, we show that VIP neurons in mouse primary visual cortex have complementary contrast tuning to SST neurons and respond synergistically to front-to-back visual motion and locomotion. Network modeling indicates that this VIP-SST mutual antagonism regulates the gain of cortex to achieve both sensitivity to behaviorally-relevant stimuli and network stability.

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