Thursday, August 28, 2008

Emergence of binocular functional properties in a monocular neural circuit

Pavan Ramdya, Florian Engert
Nature Neuroscience 11, 1083 - 1090 (2008)

Sensory circuits frequently integrate converging inputs while maintaining precise functional relationships between them. For example, in mammals with stereopsis, neurons at the first stages of binocular visual processing show a close alignment of receptive-field properties for each eye. Still, basic questions about the global wiring mechanisms that enable this functional alignment remain unanswered, including whether the addition of a second retinal input to an otherwise monocular neural circuit is sufficient for the emergence of these binocular properties. We addressed this question by inducing a de novo binocular retinal projection to the larval zebrafish optic tectum and examining recipient neuronal populations using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging. Notably, neurons in rewired tecta were predominantly binocular and showed matching direction selectivity for each eye. We found that a model based on local inhibitory circuitry that computes direction selectivity using the topographic structure of both retinal inputs can account for the emergence of this binocular feature.

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