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Neuron. 2012 Nov 8;76(3):518-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.08.041.

Visual stimulation reverses the directional preference of direction-selective retinal ganglion cells.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neurosciences Institute, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Direction selectivity in the retina is mediated by direction-selective ganglion cells. These cells are part of a circuit in which they are asymmetrically wired to inhibitory neurons. Thus, they respond strongly to an image moving in the preferred direction and weakly to an image moving in the opposite (null) direction. Here, we demonstrate that adaptation with short visual stimulation of a direction-selective ganglion cell using drifting gratings can reverse this cell's directional preference by 180°. This reversal is robust, long lasting, and independent of the animal's age. Our findings indicate that, even within circuits that are hardwired, the computation of direction can be altered by dynamic circuit mechanisms that are guided by visual stimulation.

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