Visuospatial working memory is one of the most extensively investigated functions of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Theories of prefrontal cortical function have suggested that this area exerts cognitive control by modulating the activity of structures to which it is connected. Here, we used the oculomotor system as a model in which to characterize the output signals sent from the DLPFC to a target structure during a classical spatial working memory task. We recorded the activity of identified DLPFC–superior colliculus (SC) projection neurons while monkeys performed a memory-guided saccade task in which they were required to generate saccades toward remembered stimulus locations. DLPFC neurons sent signals related to all aspects of the task to the SC, some of which were spatially tuned. These data provide the first direct evidence that the DLPFC sends task-relevant information to the SC during a spatial working memory task, and further support a role for the DLPFC in the direct modulation of other brain areas.

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