A projection specific logic to sampling visual inputs in mouse superior colliculus
Using sensory information to trigger different behaviors relies on circuits that pass through brain regions. The rules by which parallel inputs are routed to downstream targets are poorly understood. The superior colliculus mediates a set of innate behaviors, receiving input from >30 retinal ganglion cell types and projecting to behaviorally important targets including the pulvinar and parabigeminal nucleus. Combining transsynaptic circuit tracing with in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiological recordings, we observed a projection-specific logic where each collicular output pathway sampled a distinct set of retinal inputs. Neurons projecting to the pulvinar or the parabigeminal nucleus showed strongly biased sampling from four cell types each, while six others innervated both pathways. The visual response properties of retinal ganglion cells correlated well with those of their disynaptic targets. These findings open the possibility that projection-specific sampling of retinal inputs forms a basis for the selective triggering of behaviors by the superior colliculus.