Main Menu (Mobile)- Block

Main Menu - Block

janelia7_blocks-janelia7_secondary_menu | block
janelia7_blocks-janelia7_fake_breadcrumb | block
Reiser Lab / Publications
general_search_page-panel_pane_1 | views_panes

44 Publications

Showing 31-40 of 44 results
05/05/14 | Direct observation of ON and OFF pathways in the Drosophila visual system.
Strother JA, Nern A, Reiser MB
Current Biology. 2014 May 5;24(9):976-83. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.017

Visual motion perception is critical to many animal behaviors, and flies have emerged as a powerful model system for exploring this fundamental neural computation. Although numerous studies have suggested that fly motion vision is governed by a simple neural circuit [1-3], the implementation of this circuit has remained mysterious for decades. Connectomics and neurogenetics have produced a surge in recent progress, and several studies have shown selectivity for light increments (ON) or decrements (OFF) in key elements associated with this circuit [4-7]. However, related studies have reached disparate conclusions about where this selectivity emerges and whether it plays a major role in motion vision [8-13]. To address these questions, we examined activity in the neuropil thought to be responsible for visual motion detection, the medulla, of Drosophila melanogaster in response to a range of visual stimuli using two-photon calcium imaging. We confirmed that the input neurons of the medulla, the LMCs, are not responsible for light-on and light-off selectivity. We then examined the pan-neural response of medulla neurons and found prominent selectivity for light-on and light-off in layers of the medulla associated with two anatomically derived pathways (L1/L2 associated) [14, 15]. We next examined the activity of prominent interneurons within each pathway (Mi1 and Tm1) and found that these neurons have corresponding selectivity for light-on or light-off. These results provide direct evidence that motion is computed in parallel light-on and light-off pathways, demonstrate that this selectivity emerges in neurons immediately downstream of the LMCs, and specify where crucial elements of motion computation occur.

View Publication Page
07/10/13 | Contributions of the 12 neuron classes in the fly lamina to motion vision.
Tuthill JC, Nern A, Stephen L. Holtz , Rubin GM, Reiser MB
Neuron. 07/2013;79:128-140. doi:

Motion detection is a fundamental neural computation performed by many sensory systems. In the fly, local motion computation is thought to occur within the first two layers of the visual system, the lamina and medulla. We constructed specific genetic driver lines for each of the 12 neuron classes in the lamina. We then depolarized and hyperpolarized each neuron type and quantified fly behavioral responses to a diverse set of motion stimuli. We found that only a small number of lamina output neurons are essential for motion detection, while most neurons serve to sculpt and enhance these feedforward pathways. Two classes of feedback neurons (C2 and C3), and lamina output neurons (L2 and L4), are required for normal detection of directional motion stimuli. Our results reveal a prominent role for feedback and lateral interactions in motion processing and demonstrate that motion-dependent behaviors rely on contributions from nearly all lamina neuron classes.

View Publication Page
02/15/13 | Visual motion speed determines a behavioral switch from forward flight to expansion avoidance in Drosophila.
Reiser MB, Dickinson MH
The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2013 Feb 15;216:719-32. doi: 10.1242/jeb.074732

As an animal translates through the world, its eyes will experience a radiating pattern of optic flow in which there is a focus of expansion directly in front and a focus of contraction behind. For flying fruit flies, recent experiments indicate that flies actively steer away from patterns of expansion. Whereas such a reflex makes sense for avoiding obstacles, it presents a paradox of sorts because an insect could not navigate stably through a visual scene unless it tolerated flight towards a focus of expansion during episodes of forward translation. One possible solution to this paradox is that a fly’s behavior might change such that it steers away from strong expansion, but actively steers towards weak expansion. In this study, we use a tethered flight arena to investigate the influence of stimulus strength on the magnitude and direction of turning responses to visual expansion in flies. These experiments indicate that the expansion-avoidance behavior is speed dependent. At slower speeds of expansion, flies exhibit an attraction to the focus of expansion, whereas the behavior transforms to expansion avoidance at higher speeds. Open-loop experiments indicate that this inversion of the expansion-avoidance response depends on whether or not the head is fixed to the thorax. The inversion of the expansion-avoidance response with stimulus strength has a clear manifestation under closed-loop conditions. Flies will actively orient towards a focus of expansion at low temporal frequency but steer away from it at high temporal frequency. The change in the response with temporal frequency does not require motion stimuli directly in front or behind the fly. Animals in which the stimulus was presented within 120 deg sectors on each side consistently steered towards expansion at low temporal frequency and steered towards contraction at high temporal frequency. A simple model based on an array of Hassenstein-Reichardt type elementary movement detectors suggests that the inversion of the expansion-avoidance reflex can explain the spatial distribution of straight flight segments and collision-avoidance saccades when flies fly freely within an open circular arena.

View Publication Page
02/01/12 | Real neuroscience in virtual worlds.
Dombeck DA, Reiser MB
Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2012 Feb;22(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.10.015

Virtual reality (VR) holds great promise as a tool to study the neural circuitry underlying animal behaviors. Here, we discuss the advantages of VR and the experimental paradigms and technologies that enable closed loop behavioral experiments. We review recent results from VR research in genetic model organisms where the potential combination of rich behaviors, genetic tools and cutting edge neural recording techniques are leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of the neural basis of behavior. We also discuss several key issues to consider when performing VR experiments and provide an outlook for the future of this exciting experimental toolkit.

View Publication Page
Zuker LabReiser Lab
06/09/11 | Visual place learning in Drosophila melanogaster.
Ofstad TA, Zuker CS, Reiser MB
Nature. 2011 Jun 9;474(7350):204-7. doi: 10.1038/nature10131

The ability of insects to learn and navigate to specific locations in the environment has fascinated naturalists for decades. The impressive navigational abilities of ants, bees, wasps and other insects demonstrate that insects are capable of visual place learning, but little is known about the underlying neural circuits that mediate these behaviours. Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit fly) is a powerful model organism for dissecting the neural circuitry underlying complex behaviours, from sensory perception to learning and memory. Drosophila can identify and remember visual features such as size, colour and contour orientation. However, the extent to which they use vision to recall specific locations remains unclear. Here we describe a visual place learning platform and demonstrate that Drosophila are capable of forming and retaining visual place memories to guide selective navigation. By targeted genetic silencing of small subsets of cells in the Drosophila brain, we show that neurons in the ellipsoid body, but not in the mushroom bodies, are necessary for visual place learning. Together, these studies reveal distinct neuroanatomical substrates for spatial versus non-spatial learning, and establish Drosophila as a powerful model for the study of spatial memories.

View Publication Page
06/07/11 | Neural correlates of illusory motion perception in Drosophila.
Tuthill JC, Chiappe ME, Reiser MB
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011 Jun 7;108:9685-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100062108

When the contrast of an image flickers as it moves, humans perceive an illusory reversal in the direction of motion. This classic illusion, called reverse-phi motion, has been well-characterized using psychophysics, and several models have been proposed to account for its effects. Here, we show that Drosophila melanogaster also respond behaviorally to the reverse-phi illusion and that the illusion is present in dendritic calcium signals of motion-sensitive neurons in the fly lobula plate. These results closely match the predictions of the predominant model of fly motion detection. However, high flicker rates cause an inversion of the reverse-phi behavioral response that is also present in calcium signals of lobula plate tangential cell dendrites but not predicted by the model. The fly’s behavioral and neural responses to the reverse-phi illusion reveal unexpected interactions between motion and flicker signals in the fly visual system and suggest that a similar correlation-based mechanism underlies visual motion detection across the animal kingdom.

View Publication Page
08/24/10 | Walking modulates speed sensitivity in Drosophila motion vision.
Chiappe ME, Seelig JD, Reiser MB, Jayaraman V
Current Biology. 2010 Aug 24;20(16):1470-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.072

Changes in behavioral state modify neural activity in many systems. In some vertebrates such modulation has been observed and interpreted in the context of attention and sensorimotor coordinate transformations. Here we report state-dependent activity modulations during walking in a visual-motor pathway of Drosophila. We used two-photon imaging to monitor intracellular calcium activity in motion-sensitive lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) in head-fixed Drosophila walking on an air-supported ball. Cells of the horizontal system (HS)–a subgroup of LPTCs–showed stronger calcium transients in response to visual motion when flies were walking rather than resting. The amplified responses were also correlated with walking speed. Moreover, HS neurons showed a relatively higher gain in response strength at higher temporal frequencies, and their optimum temporal frequency was shifted toward higher motion speeds. Walking-dependent modulation of HS neurons in the Drosophila visual system may constitute a mechanism to facilitate processing of higher image speeds in behavioral contexts where these speeds of visual motion are relevant for course stabilization.

View Publication Page
07/01/10 | Two-photon calcium imaging from head-fixed Drosophila during optomotor walking behavior.
Seelig JD, Chiappe ME, Lott GK, Dutta A, Osborne JE, Reiser MB, Jayaraman V
Nature Methods. 2010 Jul;7:535-40. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1468

Drosophila melanogaster is a model organism rich in genetic tools to manipulate and identify neural circuits involved in specific behaviors. Here we present a technique for two-photon calcium imaging in the central brain of head-fixed Drosophila walking on an air-supported ball. The ball’s motion is tracked at high resolution and can be treated as a proxy for the fly’s own movements. We used the genetically encoded calcium sensor, GCaMP3.0, to record from important elements of the motion-processing pathway, the horizontal-system lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) in the fly optic lobe. We presented motion stimuli to the tethered fly and found that calcium transients in horizontal-system neurons correlated with robust optomotor behavior during walking. Our technique allows both behavior and physiology in identified neurons to be monitored in a genetic model organism with an extensive repertoire of walking behaviors.

View Publication Page
05/01/10 | Drosophila fly straight by fixating objects in the face of expanding optic flow.
Reiser MB, Dickinson MH
The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2010 May;213(Pt 10):1771-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.072

Flies, like all animals that depend on vision to navigate through the world, must integrate the optic flow created by self-motion with the images generated by prominent features in their environment. Although much is known about the responses of Drosophila melanogaster to rotating flow fields, their reactions to the more complex patterns of motion that occur as they translate through the world are not well understood. In the present study we explore the interactions between two visual reflexes in Drosophila: object fixation and expansion avoidance. As a fly flies forward, it encounters an expanding visual flow field. However, recent results have demonstrated that Drosophila strongly turn away from patterns of expansion. Given the strength of this reflex, it is difficult to explain how flies make forward progress through a visual landscape. This paradox is partially resolved by the finding reported here that when undergoing flight directed towards a conspicuous object, Drosophila will tolerate a level of expansion that would otherwise induce avoidance. This navigation strategy allows flies to fly straight when orienting towards prominent visual features.

View Publication Page
06/01/09 | The ethomics era?
Reiser M
Nature Methods. 2009 Jun;6:413-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.072

Applying modern machine-vision techniques to the study of animal behavior, two groups developed systems that quantify many aspects of the complex social behaviors of Drosophila melanogaster. These software tools will enable high-throughput screens that seek to uncover the cellular and molecular underpinnings of behavior.

View Publication Page