Wiring subcortical image-forming centers: Topography, laminar targeting, and map alignment

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2021;142:283-317. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Nov 16.


Efficient sensory processing is a complex and important function for species survival. As such, sensory circuits are highly organized to facilitate rapid detection of salient stimuli and initiate motor responses. For decades, the retina's projections to image-forming centers have served as useful models to elucidate the mechanisms by which such exquisite circuitry is wired. In this chapter, we review the roles of molecular cues, neuronal activity, and axon-axon competition in the development of topographically ordered retinal ganglion cell (RGC) projections to the superior colliculus (SC) and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN). Further, we discuss our current state of understanding regarding the laminar-specific targeting of subclasses of RGCs in the SC and its homolog, the optic tectum (OT). Finally, we cover recent studies examining the alignment of projections from primary visual cortex with RGCs that monitor the same region of space in the SC.

Keywords: Retinal ganglion cell; Retinocollicular; Retinogeniculate; Vision.