Optogenetic dissection of visuomotor circuits in zebrafish
As an animal actively navigates, or is passively carried through its environment, its eyes receive continuous visual motion signals generated by its movement relative to the surroundings. How does the vertebrate brain process such visual information and prepare appropriate locomotor and eye movement behavior?
Our group investigates the underlying neural circuits in zebrafish larvae. We aim to understand how optic flow is filtered by the optic tectum and the pretectum to mediate behavioral responses.
Furthermore, we study how local networks produce function in the (pre-) motor systems in the hindbrain. The neural integrator for horizontal eye movements forms a short-lived memory of eye positions by maintaining eye-position related neural activity in the absence of input. It serves as a paradigm to identify mechanisms of short-term information storage, which is also needed in many other vertebrate brain areas of higher complexity.
Recently, we began to characterize the identified circuits also in the context of natural zebrafish habitats and behavioral needs, in an effort to better understand the specific tasks the zebrafish brain performs.
Zebrafish larvae are well-suited for exploring vertebrate brain functions because their brain is relatively simple and translucent, so you can see and manipulate activity directly. We use a combination of optogenetics, two-photon microscopy, genetics, behavioral assays, as well as other physiological approaches and computation to investigate the architecture and mechanisms of the larval neural circuitry.
Find our full list of publications here
- A robust receptive field code for optic flow detection and decomposition during self-motion.
Zhang Y, Huang R, Nörenberg W, Arrenberg AB. Curr Biol. 2022 Jun 6;32(11):2505-2516.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.048. Epub 2022 May 11.PMID: 35550724
- Spherical arena reveals optokinetic response tuning to stimulus location, size, and frequency across entire visual field of larval zebrafish.
Dehmelt FA, Meier R, Hinz J, Yoshimatsu T, Simacek CA, Huang R, Wang K, Baden T, Arrenberg AB. Elife. 2021 Jun 8;10:e63355. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63355.
- A distributed saccade-associated network encodes high velocity conjugate and monocular eye movements in the zebrafish hindbrain.
Leyden C, Brysch C, Arrenberg AB. Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 16;11(1):12644. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-90315-2.
- Parallel Channels for Motion Feature Extraction in the Pretectum and Tectum of Larval Zebrafish.
Wang K, Hinz J, Zhang Y, Thiele TR, Arrenberg AB. Cell Rep. 2020 Jan 14;30(2):442-453.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.12.031.
- Functional architecture underlying binocular coordination of eye position and velocity in the larval zebrafish hindbrain.
Brysch C, Leyden C, Arrenberg AB. BMC Biol. 2019 Dec 29;17(1):110. doi: 10.1186/s12915-019-0720-y.