Visual experience is required for the development of eye movement maps in the mouse superior colliculus

Lupeng Wang, Mingna Liu, Mark A. Segraves*, Jianhua Cang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Topographic maps are a fundamental feature of the brain’s representations of the sensory environment as well as an efficient way to organize motor control networks. Although great progress has been made in our understanding of sensory map development, very little is known about how topographic representations for motor control develop and interface with sensory maps. Here we map the representation for eye movements in the superior colliculus (SC) in awake mice. As stimulation sites were sampled along the anterior–posterior axis, small amplitude, nasally directed (ipsiversive) saccadic eye movements were evoked by microstimulation in anterior SC, followed by a smooth progression to large, temporally directed (contraversive) movements in posterior SC. This progressive change of movement amplitude and direction is consistent with the global polarity of the retinotopic map in the superficial SC, just as in primates and cats. We then investigated the role of visual experience in the development of eye movement map by studying mice reared in complete darkness. Saccades evoked by SC stimulation as well as spontaneous saccadic eye movements were larger in the dark-reared mice, indicating that visual experience is required to fine-tune the gain of saccades and to establish normal eye movement maps in the SC. Our experiments provide a foundation for future studies to investigate the synaptic organization and developmental mechanisms of sensorimotor transformations in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12281-12286
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015


  • Electrical microstimulation
  • Saccades
  • Superior colliculus
  • Topographic maps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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