The eyes are never still during maintained gaze fixation. When microsaccades are not occurring, ocular position exhibits continuous slow changes, often referred to as drifts. Unlike microsaccades, drifts remain to be viewed as largely random eye movements. Here we found that ocular position drifts can, instead, be very systematically stimulus-driven, and with very short latencies. We used highly precise eye tracking in three well trained macaque monkeys and found that even fleeting (~8 ms duration) stimulus presentations can robustly trigger transient and stimulus-specific modulations of ocular position drifts, and with only approximately 60 ms latency. Such drift responses are binocular, and they are most effectively elicited with large stimuli of low spatial frequency. Intriguingly, the drift responses exhibit some image pattern selectivity, and they are not explained by convergence responses, pupil constrictions, head movements, or starting eye positions. Ocular position drifts have very rapid access to exogenous visual information.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data for figures will be uploaded upon acceptance.
- Antimo Buonocore
- Ziad M Hafed
- Tatiana Malevich
- Antimo Buonocore
- Ziad M Hafed
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: We tracked eye movements in 3 male rhesus macaque monkeys trained on behavioral eye movement tasks under head-stabilized conditions. The experiments were part of a larger neurophysiological investigation in the laboratory. All procedures and behavioral paradigms were approved (CIN3/13 and CIN4/19G) by ethics committees at the Regierungspräsidium Tübingen, and they complied with European Union directives on animal research.
- Emilio Salinas, Wake Forest School of Medicine, United States
© 2020, Malevich et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Deciphering patterns of connectivity between neurons in the brain is a critical step toward understanding brain function. Imaging-based neuroanatomical tracing identifies area-to-area or sparse neuron-to-neuron connectivity patterns, but with limited throughput. Barcode-based connectomics maps large numbers of single-neuron projections, but remains a challenge for jointly analyzing single-cell transcriptomics. Here, we established a rAAV2-retro barcode-based multiplexed tracing method that simultaneously characterizes the projectome and transcriptome at the single neuron level. We uncovered dedicated and collateral projection patterns of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) neurons to five downstream targets and found that projection-defined vmPFC neurons are molecularly heterogeneous. We identified transcriptional signatures of projection-specific vmPFC neurons, and verified Pou3f1 as a marker gene enriched in neurons projecting to the lateral hypothalamus, denoting a distinct subset with collateral projections to both dorsomedial striatum and lateral hypothalamus. In summary, we have developed a new multiplexed technique whose paired connectome and gene expression data can help reveal organizational principles that form neural circuits and process information.
Blindness affects millions of people around the world. A promising solution to restoring a form of vision for some individuals are cortical visual prostheses, which bypass part of the impaired visual pathway by converting camera input to electrical stimulation of the visual system. The artificially induced visual percept (a pattern of localized light flashes, or ‘phosphenes’) has limited resolution, and a great portion of the field’s research is devoted to optimizing the efficacy, efficiency, and practical usefulness of the encoding of visual information. A commonly exploited method is non-invasive functional evaluation in sighted subjects or with computational models by using simulated prosthetic vision (SPV) pipelines. An important challenge in this approach is to balance enhanced perceptual realism, biologically plausibility, and real-time performance in the simulation of cortical prosthetic vision. We present a biologically plausible, PyTorch-based phosphene simulator that can run in real-time and uses differentiable operations to allow for gradient-based computational optimization of phosphene encoding models. The simulator integrates a wide range of clinical results with neurophysiological evidence in humans and non-human primates. The pipeline includes a model of the retinotopic organization and cortical magnification of the visual cortex. Moreover, the quantitative effects of stimulation parameters and temporal dynamics on phosphene characteristics are incorporated. Our results demonstrate the simulator’s suitability for both computational applications such as end-to-end deep learning-based prosthetic vision optimization as well as behavioral experiments. The modular and open-source software provides a flexible simulation framework for computational, clinical, and behavioral neuroscientists working on visual neuroprosthetics.