The visual response to spatial frequency (SF), a characteristic of spatial structure across position in space, is of particular importance for animal survival. A natural challenge for rodents is to detect predators as early as possible while foraging. Whether neurons in mouse primary visual cortex (V1) are functionally organized to meet this challenge remains unclear. Combining intrinsic signal optical imaging and single-unit recording, we found that the cutoff SF was much greater for neurons whose receptive fields were located above the mouse. Specifically, we discovered that the cutoff SF increased in a gradient that was positively correlated with the elevation in the visual field. This organization was present at eye opening and persisted through adulthood. Dark rearing delayed the maturation of the cutoff SF globally, but had little impact on the topographical organization of the cutoff SF, suggesting that this regional distribution is innately determined. This form of cortical organization of different SFs may benefit the mouse for detection of airborne threats in the natural environment.
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