Cone opponent functional domains in primary visual cortex combine signals for color appearance mechanisms

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 25;13(1):6344. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34020-2.


Studies of color perception have led to mechanistic models of how cone-opponent signals from retinal ganglion cells are integrated to generate color appearance. But it is unknown how this hypothesized integration occurs in the brain. Here we show that cone-opponent signals transmitted from retina to primary visual cortex (V1) are integrated through highly organized circuits within V1 to implement the color opponent interactions required for color appearance. Combining intrinsic signal optical imaging (ISI) and 2-photon calcium imaging (2PCI) at single cell resolution, we demonstrate cone-opponent functional domains (COFDs) that combine L/M cone-opponent and S/L + M cone-opponent signals following the rules predicted from psychophysical studies of color perception. These give rise to an orderly organization of hue preferences of the neurons within the COFDs and the generation of hue "pinwheels". Thus, spatially organized neural circuits mediate an orderly transition from cone-opponency to color appearance that begins in V1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium*
  • Color
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Primary Visual Cortex*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology


  • Calcium