Stimulus-dependent engagement of neural mechanisms for reliable motion detection in the mouse retina

J Neurophysiol. 2018 Sep 1;120(3):1153-1161. doi: 10.1152/jn.00716.2017. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


Direction selectivity is a fundamental computation in the visual system and is first computed by the direction-selective circuit in the mammalian retina. Although landmark discoveries on the neural basis of direction selectivity have been made in the rabbit, many technological advances designed for the mouse have emerged, making this organism a favored model for investigating the direction-selective circuit at the molecular, synaptic, and network levels. Studies using diverse motion stimuli in the mouse retina demonstrate that retinal direction selectivity is implemented by multilayered mechanisms. This review begins with a set of central mechanisms that are engaged under a wide range of visual conditions and then focuses on additional layers of mechanisms that are dynamically recruited under different visual stimulus conditions. Together, recent findings allude to an emerging theme: robust motion detection in the natural environment requires flexible neural mechanisms.

Keywords: direction selectivity; motion detection; retina; synaptic circuit; visual motion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motion*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / physiology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*


  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor 2