TCB Publications - Abstract

Svilen Tzonev, Joseph Malpeli, and Klaus Schulten. A three-dimensional model of the morphogenesis of the rhesus lateral geniculate nucleus. Beckman Institute Technical Report, University of Illinois, 1998.

TZON97 The lateral geniculate nucleus consists of neurons stacked in strata which retinotopically sort different retinal outputs, and which, depending on strata order, form visible layers. The stacking order changes midway through the nucleus, causing a transition from 6 layers (representing central vision) to four layers (representing peripheral vision). The blind spot in each eye is represented by small gaps in corresponding layers, which, in the rhesus monkey, lie on the transition surface between six and four layers. We present a three-dimensional, dynamical model of morphogenesis that explains the association between laminar transition and gaps. A wave of development initiated in the foveal (posterior) region carries the 6-layer pattern forward in a metastable state. When the wave reaches the gaps, they disrupt local interactions maintaining the metastable state and trigger a switch to the more stable 4-layer pattern. Although the gaps are small, their influence is felt globally as the transition propagates across the nucleus.

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