The Impact of Visual Cues, Reward, and Motor Feedback on the Representation of Behaviorally Relevant Spatial Locations in Primary Visual Cortex

Cell Rep. 2018 Sep 4;24(10):2521-2528. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.08.010.


The integration of visual stimuli and motor feedback is critical for successful visually guided navigation. These signals have been shown to shape neuronal activity in the primary visual cortex (V1), in an experience-dependent manner. Here, we examined whether visual, reward, and self-motion-related inputs are integrated in order to encode behaviorally relevant locations in V1 neurons. Using a behavioral task in a virtual environment, we monitored layer 2/3 neuronal activity as mice learned to locate a reward along a linear corridor. With learning, a subset of neurons became responsive to the expected reward location. Without a visual cue to the reward location, both behavioral and neuronal responses relied on self-motion-derived estimations. However, when visual cues were available, both neuronal and behavioral responses were driven by visual information. Therefore, a population of V1 neurons encode behaviorally relevant spatial locations, based on either visual cues or on self-motion feedback when visual cues are absent.

Keywords: V1; awake behaving mice; motor feedback; navigation; path integration; reward; two-photon calcium imaging; virtual reality; visual cortex; visual landmark.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reward*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*