Visual motion-detection circuits in flies: Parallel direction- and non- direction-sensitive pathways between the medulla and lobula plate

John K. Douglass, Nicholas J. Strausfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neural circuitry of motion processing in insects, as in primates, involves the segregation of different types of visual information into parallel retinotopic pathways that subsequently are reunited at higher levels. In insects, achromatic, motion-sensitive pathways to the lobula plate are separated from color-processing pathways to the lobula. Further parallel subdivisions of the retinotopic pathways to the lobula plate have been suggested from anatomical observations. Here, we provide direct physiological evidence that the two most prominent of these latter pathways are, indeed, functionally distinct: recordings from the retinotopic pathway defined by small-field bushy T-cells (T4) demonstrate only weak directional selectivity to motion, in striking contrast with previously demonstrated strong directional selectivity in the second, T5-cell, pathway. Additional intracellular recordings and anatomical descriptions have been obtained from other identified neurons that may be crucial in early motion detection and processing: a deep medulla amacrine cell that seems well suited to provide the lateral interactions among retinotopic elements required for motion detection; a unique class of Y-cells that provide small-field, directionally selective feedback from the lobula plate to the medulla; and a new heterolateral lobula plate tangential cell that collates directional, motion- sensitive inputs. These results add important new elements to the set of identified neurons that process motion information. The results suggest specific hypotheses regarding the neuronal substrates for motion-processing circuitry and corroborate behavioral studies in bees that predict distinct pathways for directional and nondirectional motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4551-4562
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume16
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1996

Keywords

  • bushy T-cells
  • insects
  • motion computation
  • motion processing
  • parallel pathways
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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