Neural Circuits Underlying Visually Evoked Escapes in Larval Zebrafish.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dunn, TW; Gebhardt, C; Naumann, EA; Riegler, C; Ahrens, MB; Engert, F; Del Bene, F

Published Date

  • February 3, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 89 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 613 - 628

PubMed ID

  • 26804997

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4742414

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4199

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.12.021


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States