Cortical control of spatial resolution by VIP+ interneurons

Inbal Ayzenshtat*, Mahesh Miikael Karnani, Jesse Jackson, Rafael Yuste

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neuronal tuning, defined by the degree of selectivity to a specific stimulus, is a hallmark of cortical computation. Understanding the role of GABAergic interneurons in shaping cortical tuning is now possible with the ability to manipulate interneuron classes selectively. Here, we show that interneurons expressing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP+) regulate the spatial frequency (SF) tuning of pyramidal neurons in mouse visual cortex. Using two-photon calcium imaging and optogenetic manipulations of VIP+ cell activity, we found that activating VIP+ cells elicited a stronger network response to stimuli of higher SFs, whereas suppressing VIP+ cells resulted in a network response shift toward lower SFs. These results establish that cortical inhibition modulates the spatial resolution of visual processing and add further evidence demonstrating that feature selectivity depends, not only on the feedforward excitatory projections into the cortex, but also on dynamic intracortical modulations by specific forms of inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11498-11509
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical tuning
  • Inhibition
  • Interneurons
  • Spatial resolution
  • VIP+
  • Visual cortex


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