Neurobiology
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Laura Busse

Vision during action

Brain state can fundamentally control how visual cortex processes information. We have shown that the effects of locomotion extend throughout the mouse early visual system, where it affects pupil size, and modulates the activity of dLGN and decorrelates responses in primary visual cortex (Erisken et al. 2014).

Together with Aman Saleem (UCL), we organzize a Mini-Symposium for SfN 2017 that will discuss novel perspectives of sensory processing during active, multi-dimensional behavior in different systems (fly vision, rodent vision, audition, somatosensation) and at different processing levels (fly lobula plate, mammalian thalamus and cortex).

Cortico-thalamic feedback

As an ideal model circuit to understand the role of feedback in the visual system, we study how cortico-thalamic feedback modulates activity in the dorsolateral geniculate (dLGN) of the thalamus and in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN). In ongoing projects, we work with transgenic mice expression Cre-recombinase in L6 cortico-thalamic pyramidal cells and use optogenetic and chemogenetic methods to causally probe their impact on thalamic activity (Funded by DFG).

In collaboration with Thomas Euler (2-photon Calcium imaging of the retina; CIN University of Tübingen) and Philipp Berens (computational modeling; CIN, University of Tübingen) we study how feedforward and feedback signals control activity in the dLGN.
(Funded by BCCN Smart Start and DFG)

Neural basis of visual behavior

Neural activity, even in early sensory areas, is modulated by visual behavior (Khastkhodaei et al. 2016; Saleem et al. 2017) In the past, we have shown that visual behavior in mice does not only reflect stimulus properties, but can also heavily be influenced by non-sensory factors, such as past rewards or past choices (Busse et al. 2011). In a new project within the RTG Perception in Context 2175, we will follow up on this observation and combine electrophysiological recordings, optogenetics and computational modeling (in collaboration with Thomas Wachtler, LMU) to gain a deeper understanding in the neural circuits and mechanism underlying history-dependent visual processing.

In collaborative work with Steffen Katzner’s lab and Masataka Watanabe (MPI for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen), we train mice in complex visual tasks and ask how neural activity changes in the context of behavior. Furthermore, we perturb neural responses using optogenetic tools to identify the circuits that are critical for a perceptual task.top

The role of inhibitory interneurons in visual processing

The appropriate relationship between excitation and inhibition is crucial for normal brain function, including the processing of visual information. In the past, we have shown that parvalbumin-expressing (PV+) inhibitory interneurons in primary visual cortex contribute to contextual modulations, potentially via controlling stimulus drive (Vaiceliunaite et al. 2013).

Alterations of inhibitory activity have also been proposed to underlie several neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia. In ongoing work, we investigate the impact of impaired inhibitory circuits on network oscillations and visual processing.

Natural stimuli for mice

Across species, visual systems have evolved to efficiently cope with the specific information encountered in the animal’s natural habitat. Visual stimuli that are matched to natural conditions are therefore essential to understand how neurons process visual information. In a newly funded project with Thomas Euler (CIN, University of Tübingen) and Frank Schaeffel (CIN, University of Tübingen), we will explore the visual input received by the mouse visual system under natural conditions and how such input is processed along key stages of the early visual system.
(Funded by DFG)top

Selected references

Busse L; Ayaz A; Dhruv NT; Katzner S; Carandini M; Saleem AB; Schölvinck ML; Zaharia AD; Carandini M (2011)
The Detection of Visual Contrast in the Behaving Mouse
J Neurosci 31: 11351-11361. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6689-10.2011.

Erisken S; Vaiceliunaite A; Jurjut O; Fiorini M; Katzner S; Busse L (2014)
Effects of Locomotion Extend throughout the Mouse Early Visual System
Curr Biol 24: 2899-2907. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.045. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

Khastkhodaei Z; Jurjut O; Katzner S; Busse L (2016)
Mice Can Use Second-Order, Contrast-Modulated Stimuli to Guide Visual Perception
J Neurosci 36: 4457-69. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4595-15.2016.

Saleem AB; Lien AD; Krumin M; Haider B; Roman Roson M; Ayaz A; Reinhold K; Busse L; Carandini M; Harris KD (2017)
Subcortical Source and Modulation of the Narrowband Gamma Oscillation in Mouse Visual Cortex
Neuron 93: 315-322. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.12.028.

Vaiceliunaite A; Erisken S; Franzen F; Katzner S; Busse L (2013)
Spatial integration in mouse primary visual cortex
J Neurophysiol 110: 964-72. doi: 10.1152/jn.00138.2013. Epub 2013 May 29.