May 18, 2021

A theory of direction selectivity for Macaque primary visual cortex

<p>This paper offers a new theory for the origin of direction selectivity in the Macaque primary visual cortex, V1. Direction selectivity (DS) is essential for the perception of motion and control of pursuit eye movements. In the Macaque visual pathway, DS neurons first appear in V1, in the Simple cell population of the Magnocellular input layer 4Ca. The LGN cells that project to these cortical neurons, however, are not direction-selective. We hypothesize that DS is initiated in feedforward LGN input, in the summed responses of LGN cells afferent to a cortical cell, and it is achieved through the interplay of (a) different visual response dynamics of ON and OFF LGN cells, and (b) the wiring of ON and OFF LGN neurons to cortex. We identify specific temporal differences in the ON/OFF pathways that together with (b) produce distinct response time-courses in separated subregions; analysis and simulations confirm the efficacy of the mechanisms proposed. To constrain the theory, we present data on Simple cells in layer 4Ca in response to drifting gratings. About half of the cells were found to have high DS, and the DS was broad-band in spatial and temporal frequency (SF and TF). The proposed theory includes a complete analysis of how stimulus features such as SF and TF interact with ON/OFF dynamics and LGN-to-cortex wiring to determine the preferred direction and magnitude of DS.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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