Causal evidence for retina-dependent and -independent visual motion computations in mouse cortex.
ABSTRACT: How neuronal computations in the sensory periphery contribute to computations in the cortex is not well understood. We examined this question in the context of visual-motion processing in the retina and primary visual cortex (V1) of mice. We disrupted retinal direction selectivity, either exclusively along the horizontal axis using FRMD7 mutants or along all directions by ablating starburst amacrine cells, and monitored neuronal activity in layer 2/3 of V1 during stimulation with visual motion. In control mice, we found an over-representation of cortical cells preferring posterior visual motion, the dominant motion direction an animal experiences when it moves forward. In mice with disrupted retinal direction selectivity, the over-representation of posterior-motion-preferring cortical cells disappeared, and their responses at higher stimulus speeds were reduced. This work reveals the existence of two functionally distinct, sensory-periphery-dependent and -independent computations of visual motion in the cortex.
Project description:To establish the mouse as a genetically tractable model for high-order visual processing, we characterized fine-scale retinotopic organization of visual cortex and determined functional specialization of layer 2/3 neuronal populations in seven retinotopically identified areas. Each area contains a distinct visuotopic representation and encodes a unique combination of spatiotemporal features. Areas LM, AL, RL, and AM prefer up to three times faster temporal frequencies and significantly lower spatial frequencies than V1, while V1 and PM prefer high spatial and low temporal frequencies. LI prefers both high spatial and temporal frequencies. All extrastriate areas except LI increase orientation selectivity compared to V1, and three areas are significantly more direction selective (AL, RL, and AM). Specific combinations of spatiotemporal representations further distinguish areas. These results reveal that mouse higher visual areas are functionally distinct, and separate groups of areas may be specialized for motion-related versus pattern-related computations, perhaps forming pathways analogous to dorsal and ventral streams in other species.
Project description:Human neuroimaging experiments typically localize motion-selective cortex (MT+) by contrasting responses to stationary and moving stimuli. It has long been suspected that MT+, located on the lateral surface at the temporal-occipital (TO) boundary, contains several distinct visual field maps, although only one coarse map has been measured. Using a novel functional MRI model-based method we identified two maps-TO-1 and TO-2-and measured population receptive field (pRF) sizes within these maps. The angular representation of the first map, TO-1, has a lower vertical meridian on its posterior side at the boundary with the lateral-occipital cortex (i.e., the LO-2 portion). The angular representation continues through horizontal to the upper vertical meridian at the boundary with the second map, TO-2. The TO-2 angle map reverses from upper to lower visual field at increasingly anterior positions. The TO maps share a parallel eccentricity map in which center-to-periphery is represented in the ventral-to-dorsal direction; both maps have an expanded foveal representation. There is a progressive increase in the pRF size from V1/2/3 to LO-1/2 and TO-1/2, with the largest pRF sizes in TO-2. Further, within each map the pRF size increases as a function of eccentricity. The visual field coverage of both maps extends into the ipsilateral visual field, with larger sensitivity to peripheral ipsilateral stimuli in TO-2 than that in TO-1. The TO maps provide a functional segmentation of human motion-sensitive cortex that enables a more complete characterization of processing in human motion-selective cortex.
Project description:In mammals, the perception of motion starts with direction-selective neurons in the visual cortex. Despite numerous studies in monkey primary and second visual cortex (V1 and V2), there has been no evidence of direction maps in these areas. In the present study, we used optical imaging methods to study the organization of motion response in macaque V1 and V2. In contrast to the findings in other mammals (e.g., cats and ferrets), we found no direction maps in macaque V1. Robust direction maps, however, were found in V2 thick/pale stripes and avoided thin stripes. In many cases direction maps were located within thick stripes and exhibited pinwheel or linear organizations. The presence of motion maps in V2 points to a newfound prominence of V2 in motion processing, for contributing to motion perception in the dorsal pathway and/or for motion cue-dependent form perception in the ventral pathway.
Project description:Damage to the adult, primary visual cortex (V1) causes severe visual impairment that was previously thought to be permanent, yet several visual pathways survive V1 damage, mediating residual, often unconscious functions known as "blindsight." Because some of these pathways normally mediate complex visual motion perception, we asked whether specific training in the blind field could improve not just simple but also complex visual motion discriminations in humans with long-standing V1 damage. Global direction discrimination training was administered to the blind field of five adults with unilateral cortical blindness. Training returned direction integration thresholds to normal at the trained locations. Although retinotopically localized to trained locations, training effects transferred to multiple stimulus and task conditions, improving the detection of luminance increments, contrast sensitivity for drifting gratings, and the extraction of motion signal from noise. Thus, perceptual relearning of complex visual motion processing is possible without an intact V1 but only when specific training is administered in the blind field. These findings indicate a much greater capacity for adult visual plasticity after V1 damage than previously thought. Most likely, basic mechanisms of visual learning must operate quite effectively in extrastriate visual cortex, providing new hope and direction for the development of principled rehabilitation strategies to treat visual deficits resulting from permanent visual cortical damage.
Project description:Sensory information is encoded by populations of cortical neurons. Yet, it is unknown how this information is used for even simple perceptual choices such as discriminating orientation. To determine the computation underlying this perceptual choice, we took advantage of the robust visual adaptation in mouse primary visual cortex (V1). We first designed a stimulus paradigm in which we could vary the degree of neuronal adaptation measured in V1 during an orientation discrimination task. We then determined how adaptation affects task performance for mice of both sexes and tested which neuronal computations are most consistent with the behavioral results given the adapted population responses in V1. Despite increasing the reliability of the population representation of orientation among neurons, and improving the ability of a variety of optimal decoders to discriminate target from distractor orientations, adaptation increases animals' behavioral thresholds. Decoding the animals' choice from neuronal activity revealed that this unexpected effect on behavior could be explained by an overreliance of the perceptual choice circuit on target preferring neurons and a failure to appropriately discount the activity of neurons that prefer the distractor. Consistent with this all-positive computation, we find that animals' task performance is susceptible to subtle perturbations of distractor orientation and optogenetic suppression of neuronal activity in V1. This suggests that to solve this task the circuit has adopted a suboptimal and task-specific computation that discards important task-related information.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT A major goal in systems neuroscience is to understand how sensory signals are used to guide behavior. This requires determining what information in sensory cortical areas is used, and how it is combined, by downstream perceptual choice circuits. Here we demonstrate that when performing a go/no-go orientation discrimination task, mice suboptimally integrate signals from orientation tuned visual cortical neurons. While they appropriately positively weight target-preferring neurons, they fail to negatively weight distractor-preferring neurons. We propose that this all-positive computation may be adopted because of its simple learning rules and faster processing, and may be a common approach to perceptual decision-making when task conditions allow.
Project description:Although the visual cortex is organized retinotopically, it is not clear whether the cortical representation of position necessarily reflects perceived position. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we show that the retinotopic representation of a stationary object in the cortex was systematically shifted when visual motion was present in the scene. Whereas the object could appear shifted in the direction of the visual motion, the representation of the object in the visual cortex was always shifted in the opposite direction. The results show that the representation of position in the primary visual cortex, as revealed by fMRI, can be dissociated from perceived location.
Project description:Although lesions of the striate (V1) cortex disrupt conscious vision, patients can demonstrate surprising residual abilities within their affected visual field, a phenomenon termed blindsight. The relative contribution of spared "islands" of functioning striate cortex to residual vision, versus subcortical pathways to extrastriate areas, has implications for the role of early visual areas in visual awareness and performance. Here we describe the behavioral and neural features of residual cortical function in Patient M.C., who sustained a posterior cerebral artery stroke at the age of 15 years. Within her impaired visual field, we found preserved visual abilities characteristic of blindsight, including superior detection of motion, and above-chance discrimination of shape, color, and motion direction. Functional magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a retinotopically organized representation of M.C.'s blind visual field within the lesioned occipital lobe, specifically within area V1. The incongruity of a well-organized cortex and M.C.'s markedly impaired vision was resolved by measurement of functional responses within her damaged occipital lobe. Attenuated neural contrast-response functions were found to correlate with M.C.'s impaired psychophysical performance. These results demonstrate that the behavioral features of blindsight may arise in the presence of residual striate responses that are spatially organized and sensitive to contrast variation.
Project description:Vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing (VIP) interneurons in the cortex regulate feedback inhibition of pyramidal neurons through suppression of somatostatin-expressing (SST) interneurons and, reciprocally, SST neurons inhibit VIP neurons. Although VIP neuron activity in the primary visual cortex (V1) of mouse is highly correlated with locomotion, the relevance of locomotion-related VIP neuron activity to visual coding is not known. Here we show that VIP neurons in mouse V1 respond strongly to low contrast front-to-back motion that is congruent with self-motion during locomotion but are suppressed by other directions and contrasts. VIP and SST neurons have complementary contrast tuning. Layer 2/3 contains a substantially larger population of low contrast preferring pyramidal neurons than deeper layers, and layer 2/3 (but not deeper layer) pyramidal neurons show bias for front-to-back motion specifically at low contrast. Network modeling indicates that VIP-SST mutual antagonism regulates the gain of the cortex to achieve sensitivity to specific weak stimuli without compromising network stability.
Project description:The illusion of apparent motion can be induced when visual stimuli are successively presented at different locations. It has been shown in previous studies that motion-sensitive regions in extrastriate cortex are relevant for the processing of apparent motion, but it is unclear whether primary visual cortex (V1) is also involved in the representation of the illusory motion path. We investigated, in human subjects, apparent-motion-related activity in patches of V1 representing locations along the path of illusory stimulus motion using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Here we show that apparent motion caused a blood-oxygenation-level-dependent response along the V1 representations of the apparent-motion path, including regions that were not directly activated by the apparent-motion-inducing stimuli. This response was unaltered when participants had to perform an attention-demanding task that diverted their attention away from the stimulus. With a bistable motion quartet, we confirmed that the activity was related to the conscious perception of movement. Our data suggest that V1 is part of the network that represents the illusory path of apparent motion. The activation in V1 can be explained either by lateral interactions within V1 or by feedback mechanisms from higher visual areas, especially the motion-sensitive human MT/V5 complex.
Project description:The visual system is thought to represent the direction of moving objects in the relative activity of large populations of cortical neurons that are broadly tuned to the direction of stimulus motion, but how changes in the direction of a moving stimulus are represented in the population response remains poorly understood. Here we take advantage of the orderly mapping of direction selectivity in ferret primary visual cortex (V1) to explore how abrupt changes in the direction of a moving stimulus are encoded in population activity using voltage-sensitive dye imaging. For stimuli moving in a constant direction, the peak of the V1 population response accurately represented the direction of stimulus motion, but following abrupt changes in motion direction, the peak transiently departed from the direction of stimulus motion in a fashion that varied with the direction offset angle and was well predicted from the response to the component directions. We conclude that cortical dynamics and population coding mechanisms combine to place constraints on the accuracy with which abrupt changes in direction of motion can be represented by cortical circuits.