Diverse modes of binocular interactions in the mouse superior colliculus

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of neurophysiology








eye-specific; receptive field; visual


The superior colliculus (SC) integrates visual and other sensory information to regulate critical reflexive and innate behaviors, such as prey capture. In the mouse, the vast majority of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) innervate the SC, including inputs from both the contralateral (contra-RGCs) and ipsilateral (ipsi-RGCs) eye. Despite this, previous studies revealed minimal neuronal responses to ipsilateral stimulation and few binocular interactions in the mouse SC. More recent work suggests that ipsi-RGC function and innervation of the SC are critical for efficient prey capture, raising the possibility that binocular interactions in the mouse SC may be more prevalent than previously thought. To explore this possibility, we investigated eye-specific and binocular influences on visual responses and tuning of SC neurons, focusing on the anteromedial region. Although the majority of SC neurons were primarily driven by contralateral eye stimulation, we observed that a substantial proportion of units were influenced or driven by ipsilateral stimulation. Clustering based on differential responses to eye-specific stimulus presentation revealed five distinct putative subpopulations and multiple modes of binocular interaction, including facilitation, summation, and suppression. Each of the putative subpopulations exhibited selectivity for orientation, and differences in spatial frequency tuning and spatial summation properties were observed between subpopulations. Further analysis of orientation tuning under different ocular conditions supported differential modes of binocular interaction between putative subtypes. Taken together, these data suggest that binocular interactions in the mouse SC may be more prevalent and diverse than previously understood. The mouse superior colliculus (SC) receives binocular inputs, which inform complex behavioral programs. However, we know surprisingly little about binocular tuning in the rodent SC. Here, we characterize responses to eye-specific presentations of visual stimuli and reveal a previously unappreciated diversity of binocularly modulated neurons in the SC. This foundational work broadens our understanding of visual processing in the SC and sets the stage for future studies interrogating the circuit mechanisms underlying binocular tuning.