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Published April 19, 2023 | Published
Journal Article Open

Functional cell types in the mouse superior colliculus


The superior colliculus (SC) represents a major visual processing station in the mammalian brain that receives input from many types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). How many parallel channels exist in the SC, and what information does each encode? Here, we recorded from mouse superficial SC neurons under a battery of visual stimuli including those used for classification of RGCs. An unsupervised clustering algorithm identified 24 functional types based on their visual responses. They fall into two groups: one that responds similarly to RGCs and another with more diverse and specialized stimulus selectivity. The second group is dominant at greater depths, consistent with a vertical progression of signal processing in the SC. Cells of the same functional type tend to cluster near each other in anatomical space. Compared to the retina, the visual representation in the SC has lower dimensionality, consistent with a sifting process along the visual pathway.

Additional Information

© 2023, Li and Meister. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited. MM was supported by grants from NIH (R01 NS111477) and from the Simons Foundation (543015SPI). Y-t L was supported by a grant from the NEI (K99EY028640) and a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship. Data availability. Data and code are available in a Caltech DATA Repository (https://doi.org/10.22002/w3n8w-wgx37) and in a public Github repository (https://github.com/yatangli/Li-CellTypes-2023 copy archived at Li and Meister, 2023). Ethics. All animal procedures were performed according to relevant guidelines and approved by the Caltech IACUC (protocol 1656).

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