Experience-Dependent and Independent Binocular Correspondence of Receptive Field Subregions in Mouse Visual Cortex

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The convergence of eye-specific thalamic inputs to visual cortical neurons forms the basis of binocular vision. Inputs from the same eye that signal light increment (On) and decrement (Off) are spatially segregated into subregions, giving rise to cortical receptive fields (RFs) that are selective for stimulus orientation. Here we map RFs of binocular neurons in the mouse primary visual cortex using spike-triggered average. We find that subregions of the same sign (On-On and Off-Off) preferentially overlap between the 2 monocular RFs, leading to binocularly matched orientation tuning. We further demonstrate that such subregion correspondence and the consequent matching of RF orientation are disrupted in mice reared in darkness during development. Surprisingly, despite the lack of all postnatal visual experience, a substantial degree of subregion correspondence still remains. In addition, dark-reared mice show normal monocular RF structures and binocular overlap. These results thus reveal the specific roles of experience-dependent and -independent processes in binocular convergence and refinement of On and Off inputs onto single cortical neurons.

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