Color and orientation are jointly coded and spatially organized in primate primary visual cortex

Science. 2019 Jun 28;364(6447):1275-1279. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw5868.


Previous studies support the textbook model that shape and color are extracted by distinct neurons in primate primary visual cortex (V1). However, rigorous testing of this model requires sampling a larger stimulus space than previously possible. We used stable GCaMP6f expression and two-photon calcium imaging to probe a very large spatial and chromatic visual stimulus space and map functional microarchitecture of thousands of neurons with single-cell resolution. Notable proportions of V1 neurons strongly preferred equiluminant color over achromatic stimuli and were also orientation selective, indicating that orientation and color in V1 are mutually processed by overlapping circuits. Single neurons could precisely and unambiguously code for both color and orientation. Further analyses revealed systematic spatial relationships between color tuning, orientation selectivity, and cytochrome oxidase histology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Female
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neurons
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / ultrastructure


  • Electron Transport Complex IV