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J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 25;35(8):3370-83. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3174-14.2015.

Layer-specific refinement of visual cortex function after eye opening in the awake mouse.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403.
Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403


The laminar structure and conserved cellular organization of mouse visual cortex provide a useful model to determine the mechanisms underlying the development of visual system function. However, the normal development of many receptive field properties has not yet been thoroughly quantified, particularly with respect to layer identity and in the absence of anesthesia. Here, we use multisite electrophysiological recording in the awake mouse across an extended period of development, starting at eye opening, to measure receptive field properties and behavioral-state modulation of responsiveness. We find selective responses for orientation, direction, and spatial frequency at eye opening, which are similar across cortical layers. After this initial similarity, we observe layer-specific maturation of orientation selectivity, direction selectivity, and linearity over the following week. Developmental increases in selectivity are most robust and similar between layers 2-4, whereas layers 5 and 6 undergo distinct refinement patterns. Finally, we studied layer-specific behavioral-state modulation of cortical activity and observed a striking reorganization in the effects of running on response gain. During week 1 after eye opening, running increases responsiveness in layers 4 and 5, whereas in adulthood, the effects of running are most pronounced in layer 2/3. Together, these data demonstrate that response selectivity is present in all layers of the primary visual cortex (V1) at eye opening in the awake mouse and identify the features of basic V1 function that are further shaped over this early developmental period in a layer-specific manner.


V1; development; gain modulation; mouse; orientation selectivity; receptive field

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