The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Cardinal Orientation Selectivity Is Represented by Two Distinct Ganglion Cell Types in Mouse Retina.

PMID 26985031


Orientation selectivity (OS) is a prominent and well studied feature of early visual processing in mammals, but recent work has highlighted the possibility that parallel OS circuits might exist in multiple brain locations. Although both classic and modern work has identified an OS mechanism in selective wiring from lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) to primary visual cortex, OS responses have now been found upstream of cortex in mouse LGN and superior colliculus, suggesting a possible origin in the retina. Indeed, retinal OS responses have been reported for decades in rabbit and more recently in mouse. However, we still know very little about the properties and mechanisms of retinal OS in the mouse, including whether there is a distinct OS ganglion cell type, which orientations are represented, and what are the synaptic mechanisms of retinal OS. We have identified two novel types of OS ganglion cells in the mouse retina that are highly selective for horizontal and vertical cardinal orientations. Reconstructions of the dendritic trees of these OS ganglion cells and measurements of their synaptic conductances offer insights into the mechanism of the OS computation at the earliest stage of the visual system. Orientation selectivity (OS) is one of the most well studied computations in the brain and has become a prominent model system in various areas of sensory neuroscience. Although the cortical mechanism of OS suggested by Hubel and Wiesel (1962) has been investigated intensely, other OS cells exist upstream of cortex as early as the retina and the mechanisms of OS in subcortical regions are much less well understood. We identified two ON retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in mouse that compute OS along the horizontal (nasal-temporal) and vertical (dorsoventral) axes of visual space. We show the relationship between dendritic morphology and OS for each RGC type and reveal new synaptic mechanisms of OS computation in the retina.