ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-140527-11
The Right Dorsal Habenula Limits Attraction to an Odor in Zebrafish
Krishnan, S., Mathuru, A.S., Kibat, C., Rahman, M., Lupton, C.E., Stewart, J., Claridge-Chang, A., Yen, S.C., Jesuthasan, S.
Date: 2014
Source: Current biology : CB   24(11): 1167-75 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Jesuthasan, Suresh, Kibat, Caroline, Mathuru, Ajay
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Habenula/physiology*
  • Interpeduncular Nucleus/physiology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Motivation
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb/physiology*
  • Smell*
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 24856207 Full text @ Curr. Biol.
The habenula consists of an evolutionarily conserved set of nuclei that control neuromodulator release. In lower vertebrates, the dorsal habenula receives innervation from sensory regions, but the significance of this is unclear. Here, we address the role of the habenula in olfaction by imaging neural activity in larval zebrafish expressing GCaMP3 throughout the habenula and by carrying out behavioral assays.
Activity in several hundred neurons throughout the habenula was recorded using wide-field fluorescence microscopy, fast focusing, and deconvolution. This enabled the creation of 4D maps of odor-evoked activity. Odors activated the habenula in two broad spatiotemporal patterns. Increasing concentrations of a putative social cue (a bile salt) evoked a corresponding increase in neuronal activity in the right dorsal habenula. In behavioral assays, fish were attracted to intermediate concentration of this cue but avoided higher concentration. Increasing cholinergic activity through nicotine exposure rendered the intermediate concentration aversive in a habenula-dependent manner. Pharmacologically blocking nicotinic receptors or lesioning the right dorsal habenula attenuated avoidance.
These data provide physiological and functional evidence that the habenula functions as a higher center in zebrafish olfaction and suggest that activity in the right dorsal subdomain gates innate attraction to specific odors.