J Neurosci 2012 Jul;32(28):9716-26
Department of Neurophysiology, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
Visual input provides important landmarks for navigating in the environment, information that in mammals is processed by specialized areas in the visual cortex. In rodents, the posteromedial area (PM) mediates visual information between primary visual cortex (V1) and the retrosplenial cortex, which further projects to the hippocampus. To understand the functional role of area PM requires a detailed analysis of its spatial frequency (SF) and temporal frequency (TF) tuning. Here, we applied two-photon calcium imaging to map neuronal tuning for orientation, direction, SF and TF, and speed in response to drifting gratings in V1 and PM of anesthetized mice. The distributions of orientation and direction tuning were similar in V1 and PM. Notably, in both areas we found a preference for cardinal compared to oblique orientations. The overrepresentation of cardinal tuned neurons was particularly strong in PM showing narrow tuning bandwidths for horizontal and vertical orientations. A detailed analysis of SF and TF tuning revealed a broad range of highly tuned neurons in V1. On the contrary, PM contained one subpopulation of neurons with high spatial acuity and a second subpopulation broadly tuned for low SFs. Furthermore, ∼20% of the responding neurons in V1 and only 12% in PM were tuned to the speed of drifting gratings with PM preferring slower drift rates compared to V1. Together, PM is tuned for cardinal orientations, high SFs, and low speed and is further located between V1 and the retrosplenial cortex consistent with a role in processing natural scenes during spatial navigation.