Orthogonal micro-organization of orientation and spatial frequency in primate primary visual cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2012 Dec;15(12):1683-90. doi: 10.1038/nn.3255. Epub 2012 Nov 11.


Orientation and spatial frequency tuning are highly salient properties of neurons in primary visual cortex (V1). The combined organization of these particular tuning properties in the cortical space will strongly shape the V1 population response to different visual inputs, yet it is poorly understood. In this study, we used two-photon imaging in macaque monkey V1 to demonstrate the three-dimensional cell-by-cell layout of both spatial frequency and orientation tuning. We first found that spatial frequency tuning was organized into highly structured maps that remained consistent across the depth of layer II/III, similarly to orientation tuning. Next, we found that orientation and spatial frequency maps were intimately related at the fine spatial scale observed with two-photon imaging. Not only did the map gradients tend notably toward orthogonality, but they also co-varied negatively from cell to cell at the spatial scale of cortical columns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca radiata
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology