Visual processing depends critically on the receptive field (RF) properties of visual neurons. However, comprehensive characterization of RFs beyond the primary visual cortex (V1) remains a challenge. Here we report fine RF structures in secondary visual cortex (V2) of awake macaque monkeys, identified through a projection pursuit regression analysis of neuronal responses to natural images. We found that V2 RFs could be broadly classified as V1-like (typical Gabor-shaped subunits), ultralong (subunits with high aspect ratios), or complex-shaped (subunits with multiple oriented components). Furthermore, single-unit recordings from functional domains identified by intrinsic optical imaging showed that neurons with ultralong RFs were primarily localized within pale stripes, whereas neurons with complex-shaped RFs were more concentrated in thin stripes. Thus, by combining single-unit recording with optical imaging and a computational approach, we identified RF subunits underlying spatial feature selectivity of V2 neurons and demonstrated the functional organization of these RF properties.
Keywords: V2; natural images; receptive field; stripes.