Wiring the binocular visual pathways

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Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) extend axons out of the retina to transmit visual information to the brain. These connections are established during development through the navigation of RGC axons along a relatively long, stereotypical pathway. RGC axons exit the eye at the optic disc and extend along the optic nerves to the ventral midline of the brain, where the two nerves meet to form the optic chiasm. In animals with binocular vision, the axons face a choice at the optic chiasm—to cross the midline and project to targets on the contralateral side of the brain, or avoid crossing the midline and project to ipsilateral brain targets. Ipsilaterally and contralaterally projecting RGCs originate in disparate regions of the retina that relate to the extent of binocular overlap in the visual field. In humans virtually all RGC axons originating in temporal retina project ipsilaterally, whereas in mice, ipsilaterally projecting RGCs are confined to the peripheral ventrotemporal retina. This review will discuss recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms regulating specification of ipsilateral versus contralateral RGCs, and the differential guidance of their axons at the optic chiasm. Recent insights into the establishment of congruent topographic maps in both brain hemispheres also will be discussed.




Murcia-Belmonte, V., & Erskine, L. (2019, July 1). Wiring the binocular visual pathways. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20133282

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