Visual Function, Organization, and Development of the Mouse Superior Colliculus

Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2018 Sep 15;4:239-262. doi: 10.1146/annurev-vision-091517-034142. Epub 2018 May 31.


The superior colliculus (SC) is the most prominent visual center in mice. Studies over the past decade have greatly advanced our understanding of the function, organization, and development of the mouse SC, which has rapidly become a popular model in vision research. These studies have described the diverse and cell-type-specific visual response properties in the mouse SC, revealed their laminar and topographic organizations, and linked the mouse SC and downstream pathways with visually guided behaviors. Here, we summarize these findings, compare them with the rich literature of SC studies in other species, and highlight important gaps and exciting future directions. Given its clear importance in mouse vision and the available modern neuroscience tools, the mouse SC holds great promise for understanding the cellular, circuit, and developmental mechanisms that underlie visual processing, sensorimotor transformation, and, ultimately, behavior.

Keywords: cell type; direction selectivity; map alignment; orientation selectivity; receptive fields; retinotopic maps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi* / anatomy & histology
  • Superior Colliculi* / embryology
  • Superior Colliculi* / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*