Stream-related preferences of inputs to the superior colliculus from areas of dorsal and ventral streams of mouse visual cortex

Quanxin Wang, Andreas Burkhalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Previous studies of intracortical connections in mouse visual cortex have revealed two subnetworks that resemble the dorsal and ventral streams in primates. Although calcium imaging studies have shown that many areas of the ventral stream have high spatial acuity whereas areas of the dorsal stream are highly sensitive for transient visual stimuli, there are some functional inconsistencies that challenge a simple grouping into "what/perception" and "where/action" streams known in primates. The superior colliculus (SC) is a major center for processing of multimodal sensory information and the motor control of orienting the eyes, head, and body. Visual processing is performed in superficial layers, whereas premotor activity is generated in deep layers of the SC. Because the SC is known to receive input from visual cortex, we asked whether the projections from 10 visual areas of the dorsal and ventral streams terminate in differential depth profiles within the SC. We found that inputs from primary visual cortex are by far the strongest. Projections from the ventral stream were substantially weaker, whereas the sparsest input originated from areas of the dorsal stream. Importantly, we found that ventral stream inputs terminated in superficial layers, whereas dorsal stream inputs tended to be patchy and either projected equally to superficial and deep layers or strongly preferred deep layers. The results suggest that the anatomically defined ventral and dorsal streams contain areas that belong to distinct functional systems, specialized for the processing of visual information and visually guided action, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1696-1705
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 23 2013


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