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Neuron. 2016 Feb 3;89(3):613-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.12.021. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Neural Circuits Underlying Visually Evoked Escapes in Larval Zebrafish.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Program in Neuroscience, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2
Institut Curie, PSL Research University, INSERM, U 934, CNRS UMR3215, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France.
3
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
4
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Department of Neurobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Wien, Austria.
5
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA.
6
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Program in Neuroscience, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: florian@mcb.harvard.edu.
7
Institut Curie, PSL Research University, INSERM, U 934, CNRS UMR3215, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France. Electronic address: filippo.del-bene@curie.fr.

Abstract

Escape behaviors deliver organisms away from imminent catastrophe. Here, we characterize behavioral responses of freely swimming larval zebrafish to looming visual stimuli simulating predators. We report that the visual system alone can recruit lateralized, rapid escape motor programs, similar to those elicited by mechanosensory modalities. Two-photon calcium imaging of retino-recipient midbrain regions isolated the optic tectum as an important center processing looming stimuli, with ensemble activity encoding the critical image size determining escape latency. Furthermore, we describe activity in retinal ganglion cell terminals and superficial inhibitory interneurons in the tectum during looming and propose a model for how temporal dynamics in tectal periventricular neurons might arise from computations between these two fundamental constituents. Finally, laser ablations of hindbrain circuitry confirmed that visual and mechanosensory modalities share the same premotor output network. We establish a circuit for the processing of aversive stimuli in the context of an innate visual behavior.

PMID:
26804997
PMCID:
PMC4742414
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.12.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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