Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Project Title: Visualizing functional properties of retinal axonal boutons in the dLGN in vivo
Relay neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus (dLGN) exhibit diverse and sharp visual tuning, suggesting functionally specific convergence of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons onto dLGN neurons. However, technical limitations have prevented direct investigation of this question. In this talk, I’ll describe recent work mapping the functional organization of RGC axonal boutons with subcellular resolution in the dorsal region of mouse dLGN. By implanting a chronic cannula and cranial window above the dLGN, we could visualize simultaneously many axonal arbors to assess visual responses to a large set of stimulus conditions. With these preliminary data, we have begun to address several questions: how precise are retinotopic maps across RGC boutons in dLGN? Is there spatial organization to direction/orientation tuning? More specifically, do nearby boutons from different RGC axons show functional clustering that might give rise to specific receptive field properties in dLGN neurons?