From mouse to primate, there is a striking discontinuity in our current understanding of the neural coding of motion direction. In non-primate mammals, directionally selective cell types and circuits are a signature feature of the retina, situated at the earliest stage of the visual process. In primates, by contrast, direction selectivity is a hallmark of motion processing areas in visual cortex, but has not been found in the retina, despite significant effort. Here we combined functional recordings of light-evoked responses and connectomic reconstruction to identify diverse direction-selective cell types in the macaque monkey retina with distinctive physiological properties and synaptic motifs. This circuitry includes an ON-OFF ganglion cell type, a spiking, ON-OFF polyaxonal amacrine cell and the starburst amacrine cell, all of which show direction selectivity. Moreover, we discovered that macaque starburst cells possess a strong, non-GABAergic, antagonistic surround mediated by input from excitatory bipolar cells that is critical for the generation of radial motion sensitivity in these cells. Our findings open a door to investigation of a precortical circuitry that computes motion direction in the primate visual system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)