Accurate models of visual cortical function require a precise knowledge of how visual stimuli are represented within the cortex and the specific circuits that are involved in this representation. This knowledge is not only important to understand visual processing in the brain but it is also essential for the use of future cortical prosthesis that could provide vision to the blind through electrical microstimulation. Over the past years, there has been a great effort to investigate how line orientation and visual space are mapped within the primary visual cortex and how these representations are linked by different types of intracortical connections (horizontal connections, feedback connections and local intracortical connections). However, the equivalent measurements for geniculocortical connections are still missing. This gap in our knowledge is very significant because the geniculocortical connections are the main entrance of visual information to the brain and their functional organization is intimately related with the cortical representation of visual space. Lacking these data, current models of cortical function use very different patterns of geniculocortical connectivity, from those that assume a random distribution of the afferents to those that assume a neat alignment of the geniculate receptive fields along the preferred orientation of each cortical domain. In this proposal, we will use a new, powerful combination of multielectrode recording, optical imaging and neuronal tracer techniques to fill this important gap in knowledge and provide new experimental constraints to models of cortical function. Our experiments will reveal the organization of the geniculocortical pathway at the submillimeter scale and the role of this micro-organization in the representation of line orientation and visual space within the cortex. In addition, we will investigate the role of the geniculocortical pathway in the spontaneous activation of orientation domains in the absence of visual stimuli. The results of the proposed experiments will help to uncover mechanisms of cortical processing that could be used in the future to prevent and treat different forms of central visual disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Central Visual Processing Study Section (CVP)
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Steinmetz, Michael A
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State College of Optometry
Schools of Optometry/Ophthalmol
New York
United States
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Koch, Erin; Jin, Jianzhong; Alonso, Jose M et al. (2016) Functional implications of orientation maps in primary visual cortex. Nat Commun 7:13529
Kremkow, Jens; Jin, Jianzhong; Wang, Yushi et al. (2016) Principles underlying sensory map topography in primary visual cortex. Nature 533:52-7
Kremkow, Jens; Perrinet, Laurent U; Monier, Cyril et al. (2016) Push-Pull Receptive Field Organization and Synaptic Depression: Mechanisms for Reliably Encoding Naturalistic Stimuli in V1. Front Neural Circuits 10:37
Zhao, Linxi; Sendek, Caroline; Davoodnia, Vandad et al. (2015) Effect of Age and Glaucoma on the Detection of Darks and Lights. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 56:7000-6
Wang, Yushi; Jin, Jianzhong; Kremkow, Jens et al. (2015) Columnar organization of spatial phase in visual cortex. Nat Neurosci 18:97-103
Wool, Lauren E; Komban, Stanley J; Kremkow, Jens et al. (2015) Salience of unique hues and implications for color theory. J Vis 15:
Kremkow, Jens; Jin, Jianzhong; Komban, Stanley J et al. (2014) Neuronal nonlinearity explains greater visual spatial resolution for darks than lights. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:3170-5
Kelly, Sean T; Kremkow, Jens; Jin, Jianzhong et al. (2014) The role of thalamic population synchrony in the emergence of cortical feature selectivity. PLoS Comput Biol 10:e1003418
Komban, Stanley Jose; Kremkow, Jens; Jin, Jianzhong et al. (2014) Neuronal and perceptual differences in the temporal processing of darks and lights. Neuron 82:224-34
Stanley, Garrett B; Jin, Jianzhong; Wang, Yushi et al. (2012) Visual orientation and directional selectivity through thalamic synchrony. J Neurosci 32:9073-88

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