Chromatic micromaps in primary visual cortex

Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 19;12(1):2315. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22488-3.


The clustering of neurons with similar response properties is a conspicuous feature of neocortex. In primary visual cortex (V1), maps of several properties like orientation preference are well described, but the functional architecture of color, central to visual perception in trichromatic primates, is not. Here we used two-photon calcium imaging in macaques to examine the fine structure of chromatic representation and found that neurons responsive to spatially uniform, chromatic stimuli form unambiguous clusters that coincide with blobs. Further, these responsive groups have marked substructure, segregating into smaller ensembles or micromaps with distinct chromatic signatures that appear columnar in upper layer 2/3. Spatially structured chromatic stimuli revealed maps built on the same micromap framework but with larger subdomains that go well beyond blobs. We conclude that V1 has an architecture for color representation that switches between blobs and a combined blob/interblob system based on the spatial content of the visual scene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton / methods
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*