Sensorimotor transformation elicits systematic patterns of activity along the dorsoventral extent of the superior colliculus in the macaque monkey

Commun Biol. 2019 Aug 2:2:287. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0527-y. eCollection 2019.


The superior colliculus (SC) is an excellent substrate to study sensorimotor transformations. To date, the spatial and temporal properties of population activity along its dorsoventral axis have been inferred from single electrode studies. Here, we recorded SC population activity in non-human primates using a linear multi-contact array during delayed saccade tasks. We show that during the visual epoch, information appeared first in dorsal layers and systematically later in ventral layers. During the delay period, the laminar organization of low-spiking rate activity matched that of the visual epoch. During the pre-saccadic epoch, spiking activity emerged first in a more ventral layer, ~ 100 ms before saccade onset. This buildup of activity appeared later on nearby neurons situated both dorsally and ventrally, culminating in a synchronous burst across the dorsoventral axis, ~ 28 ms before saccade onset. Collectively, these results reveal a principled spatiotemporal organization of SC population activity underlying sensorimotor transformation for the control of gaze.

Keywords: Neural circuits; Sensorimotor processing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Feedback, Sensory*
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Saccades*
  • Space Perception*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception*