The mammalian visual system is composed of a plethora of visual areas. They convey distinct aspects of the visual scene and subtend distinct behaviours. How this functional specialization emerges, has remained poorly understood. A team of neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School, including NERF Group Leader Vincent Bonin, has unraveled part of the puzzle.
The team used a novel assay to image the activity of specific groups of neurons that send their processes from one visual area to the next. The investigators found that the primary sensory area V1 acts as a triage station. It sends distinct visual information to secondary areas in a target specific way. The results suggest that functionally specific routing of sensory information may be a general principle of processing in the mammalian cortex.
Glickfeld LL, Andermann ML, Bonin V, Reid RC (2013) Cortico-cortical projections in mouse visual cortex are functionally target specific. Nat Neurosci 16:219-226.