Mouse dLGN receives input from a diverse population of retinal ganglion cells with limited convergence

In the mouse, the parallel output of more than 30 functional types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) serves as the basis for all further visual processing. Little is known about how the representation of visual information changes between the retina and the dorsolateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the thalamus, the main relay station between the retina and cortex. Here, we functionally characterized responses of retrogradely labelled dLGN-projecting RGCs and dLGN neurons to the same set of visual stimuli. We found that many of the previously identified functional RGC types innervate the dLGN, which maintained a high degree of functional diversity. Using a sparse linear model to assess functional connectivity between RGC types and dLGN neurons, we found that the responses of dLGN neurons could be predicted as a linear combination of inputs from on average five RGC types, but only two of those had the strongest functional impact. Thus, mouse dLGN receives input from a diverse population of RGCs with limited functional convergence.