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Visuomotor Coupling Shapes the Functional Development of Mouse Visual Cortex

Attinger, Alexander, Wang, Bo, Keller, Georg B.
Cell 2017
interneurons, mice, models, rearing, visual cortex
The emergence of sensory-guided behavior depends on sensorimotor coupling during development. How sensorimotor experience shapes neural processing is unclear. Here, we show that the coupling between motor output and visual feedback is necessary for the functional development of visual processing in layer 2/3 (L2/3) of primary visual cortex (V1) of the mouse. Using a virtual reality system, we reared mice in conditions of normal or random visuomotor coupling. We recorded the activity of identified excitatory and inhibitory L2/3 neurons in response to transient visuomotor mismatches in both groups of mice. Mismatch responses in excitatory neurons were strongly experience dependent and driven by a transient release from inhibition mediated by somatostatin-positive interneurons. These data are consistent with a model in which L2/3 of V1 computes a difference between an inhibitory visual input and an excitatory locomotion-related input, where the balance between these two inputs is finely tuned by visuomotor experience.