ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-161008-10
Characterisation of sensitivity and orientation tuning for visually responsive ensembles in the zebrafish tectum
Thompson, A.W., Scott, E.K.
Date: 2016
Source: Scientific Reports   6: 34887 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Scott, Ethan
Keywords: Neural circuits, Sensory processing
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Larva
  • Neurons/physiology
  • Photic Stimulation/methods
  • Superior Colliculi/cytology*
  • Superior Colliculi/physiology*
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 27713561 Full text @ Sci. Rep.
Sensory coding relies on ensembles of co-active neurons, but these ensembles change from trial to trial of the same stimulus. This is due in part to wide variability in the responsiveness of neurons within these ensembles, with some neurons responding regularly to a stimulus while others respond inconsistently. The specific functional properties that cause neurons to respond more or less consistently have not been thoroughly explored. Here, we have examined neuronal ensembles in the zebrafish tectum responsive to repeated presentations of a visual stimulus, and have explored how these populations change when the orientation or brightness of the stimulus is altered. We found a continuum of response probabilities across the neurons in the visual ensembles, with the most responsive neurons focused toward the spatial centre of the ensemble. As the visual stimulus was made dimmer, these neurons remained active, suggesting higher overall responsiveness. However, these cells appeared to represent the most consistent end of a continuum, rather than a functionally distinct "core" of highly responsive neurons. Reliably responsive cells were broadly tuned to a range of stimulus orientations suggesting that, at least for this stimulus property, tight stimulus tuning was not responsible for their consistent responses.