In rodents, the progression of extrastriate areas located laterally to primary visual cortex (V1) has been assigned to a putative object-processing pathway (homologous to the primate ventral stream), based on anatomical considerations. Recently, we found functional support for such attribution (Tafazoli et al., 2017), by showing that this cortical progression is specialized for coding object identity despite view changes, the hallmark property of a ventral-like pathway. Here, we sought to clarify what computations are at the base of such specialization. To this aim, we performed multielectrode recordings from V1 and laterolateral area LL (at the apex of the putative ventral-like hierarchy) of male adult rats, during the presentation of drifting gratings and noise movies. We found that the extent to which neuronal responses were entrained to the phase of the gratings sharply dropped from V1 to LL, along with the quality of the receptive fields inferred through reverse correlation. Concomitantly, the tendency of neurons to respond to different oriented gratings increased, whereas the sharpness of orientation tuning declined. Critically, these trends are consistent with the nonlinear summation of visual inputs that is expected to take place along the ventral stream, according to the predictions of hierarchical models of ventral computations and a meta-analysis of the monkey literature. This suggests an intriguing homology between the mechanisms responsible for building up shape selectivity and transformation tolerance in the visual cortex of primates and rodents, reasserting the potential of the latter as models to investigate ventral stream functions at the circuitry level.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Despite the growing popularity of rodents as models of visual functions, it remains unclear whether their visual cortex contains specialized modules for processing shape information. To addresses this question, we compared how neuronal tuning evolves from rat primary visual cortex (V1) to a downstream visual cortical region (area LL) that previous work has implicated in shape processing. In our experiments, LL neurons displayed a stronger tendency to respond to drifting gratings with different orientations while maintaining a sustained response across the whole duration of the drift cycle. These trends match the increased complexity of pattern selectivity and the augmented tolerance to stimulus translation found in monkey visual temporal cortex, thus revealing a homology between shape processing in rodents and primates.
|Titolo:||Nonlinear Processing of Shape Information in Rat Lateral Extrastriate Cortex|
|Autori:||Matteucci, Giulio; Bellacosa Marotti, Rosilari; Riggi, Margherita; Rosselli, Federica B.; Zoccolan, Davide|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1938-18.2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|