Unique Spatial Integration in Mouse Primary Visual Cortex and Higher Visual Areas.
Neurons in the visual system integrate over a wide range of spatial scales. This diversity is thought to enable both local and global computations. To understand how spatial information is encoded across the mouse visual system, we use two-photon imaging to measure receptive fields (RFs) and size-tuning in primary visual cortex (V1) and three downstream higher visual areas (HVAs: LM (lateromedial), AL (anterolateral), and PM (posteromedial)) in mice of both sexes. Neurons in PM, compared with V1 or the other HVAs, have significantly larger RF sizes and less surround suppression, independent of stimulus eccentricity or contrast. To understand how this specialization of RFs arises in the HVAs, we measured the spatial properties of V1 inputs to each area. Spatial integration of V1 axons was remarkably similar across areas and significantly different from the tuning of neurons in their target HVAs. Thus, unlike other visual features studied in this system, specialization of spatial integration in PM cannot be explained by specific projections from V1 to the HVAs. Further, the differences in RF properties could not be explained by differences in convergence of V1 inputs to the HVAs. Instead, our data suggest that distinct inputs from other areas or connectivity within PM may support the area's unique ability to encode global features of the visual scene, whereas V1, LM, and AL may be more specialized for processing local features.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Surround suppression is a common feature of visual processing whereby large stimuli are less effective at driving neuronal responses than smaller stimuli. This is thought to enhance efficiency in the population code and enable higher-order processing of visual information, such as figure-ground segregation. However, this comes at the expense of global computations. Here we find that surround suppression is not equally represented across mouse visual areas: primary visual cortex has substantially more surround suppression than higher visual areas, and one higher area has significantly less suppression than two others examined, suggesting that these areas have distinct functional roles. Thus, we have identified a novel dimension of specialization in the mouse visual cortex that may enable both local and global computations.
Murgas, KA; Wilson, AM; Michael, V; Glickfeld, LL
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