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Stimulus edges induce orientation tuning in superior colliculus

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Nat Commun. 2023 Aug 8;14(1):4756. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40444-1.


Orientation columns exist in the primary visual cortex (V1) of cat and primates but not mouse. Intriguingly, some recent studies reported the presence of orientation and direction columns in the mouse superficial superior colliculus (sSC), while others reported a lack of columnar organization therein. Using in vivo calcium imaging of sSC in the awake mouse brain, we found that the presence of columns is highly stimulus dependent. Specifically, we observed orientation and direction columns formed by sSC neurons retinotopically mapped to the edge of grating stimuli. For both excitatory and inhibitory neurons in sSC, orientation selectivity can be induced by the edge with their preferred orientation perpendicular to the edge orientation. Furthermore, we found that this edge-induced orientation selectivity is associated with saliency encoding. These findings indicate that the tuning properties of sSC neurons are not fixed by circuit architecture but rather dependent on the spatiotemporal properties of the stimulus.

PMID:37553352 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-40444-1

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