ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-201002-139
An Optical Illusion Pinpoints an Essential Circuit Node for Global Motion Processing
Wu, Y., Dal Maschio, M., Kubo, F., Baier, H.
Date: 2020
Source: Neuron   108(4): 722-734.e5 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Baier, Herwig, Kubo, Fumi
Keywords: Optogenetics, calcium imaging, direction selectivity, labeled-line circuit organization, motion aftereffect, motion processing, optokinetic response, pretectum
MeSH Terms:
  • Afterimage/physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Eye Movements/physiology
  • Motion Perception/physiology*
  • Neuroimaging/methods
  • Optical Illusions/physiology*
  • Optogenetics
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Pretectal Region/physiology*
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 32966764 Full text @ Neuron
Direction-selective (DS) neurons compute the direction of motion in a visual scene. Brain-wide imaging in larval zebrafish has revealed hundreds of DS neurons scattered throughout the brain. However, the exact population that causally drives motion-dependent behaviors-e.g., compensatory eye and body movements-remains largely unknown. To identify the behaviorally relevant population of DS neurons, here we employ the motion aftereffect (MAE), which causes the well-known "waterfall illusion." Together with region-specific optogenetic manipulations and cellular-resolution functional imaging, we found that MAE-responsive neurons represent merely a fraction of the entire population of DS cells in larval zebrafish. They are spatially clustered in a nucleus in the ventral lateral pretectal area and are necessary and sufficient to steer the entire cycle of optokinetic eye movements. Thus, our illusion-based behavioral paradigm, combined with optical imaging and optogenetics, identified key circuit elements of global motion processing in the vertebrate brain.