Projection of Orthogonal Tiling from the Retina to the Visual Cortex

Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 5;34(1):108581. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108581.

Abstract

In higher mammals, the primary visual cortex (V1) is organized into diverse tuning maps of visual features. The topography of these maps intersects orthogonally, but it remains unclear how such a systematic relationship can develop. Here, we show that the orthogonal organization already exists in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) mosaics, providing a blueprint of the organization in V1. From analysis of the RGC mosaics data in monkeys and cats, we find that the ON-OFF RGC distance and ON-OFF angle of neighboring RGCs are organized into a topographic tiling across mosaics, analogous to the orthogonal intersection of cortical tuning maps. Our model simulation shows that the ON-OFF distance and angle in RGC mosaics correspondingly initiate ocular dominance/spatial frequency tuning and orientation tuning, resulting in the orthogonal intersection of cortical tuning maps. These findings suggest that the regularly structured ON-OFF patterns mirrored from the retina initiate the uniform representation of combinations of map features over the visual space.

Keywords: efficient tiling; feedforward projection; ocular dominance; orientation map; orthogonal organization; primary visual cortex; retinal ganglion cell; retinotopy; spatial frequency map; uniform coverage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't