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.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.