Mammalian neocortical circuits are functionally organized such that the selectivity of individual neurons systematically shifts across the cortical surface, forming a continuous map. Maps of the sensory space exist in cortex, such as retinotopic maps in the visual system or tonotopic maps in the auditory system, but other functional response properties also may be similarly organized. For example, many carnivores and primates possess a map for orientation selectivity in primary visual cortex (V1), whereas mice, rabbits, and the gray squirrel lack orientation maps. In this report we show that a carnivorous rodent with predatory behaviors, the grasshopper mouse (Onychomys arenicola), lacks a canonical columnar organization of orientation preference in V1; however, neighboring neurons within 50 μm exhibit related tuning preference. Using a combination of two-photon microscopy and extracellular electrophysiology, we demonstrate that the functional organization of visual cortical neurons in the grasshopper mouse is largely the same as in the C57/BL6 laboratory mouse. We also find similarity in the selectivity for stimulus orientation, direction, and spatial frequency. Our results suggest that the properties of V1 neurons across rodent species are largely conserved.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY Carnivores and primates possess a map for orientation selectivity in primary visual cortex (V1), whereas rodents and lagomorphs lack this organization. We examine, for the first time, V1 of a wild carnivorous rodent with predatory behaviors, the grasshopper mouse (Onychomys arenicola). We demonstrate the cellular organization of V1 in the grasshopper mouse is largely the same as the C57/BL6 laboratory mouse, suggesting that V1 neuron properties across rodent species are largely conserved.
- visual cortex
- orientation selectivity
- spatial frequency
- cortical organization
- functional organization
- comparative physiology
- carnivorous rodent
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