Report

Multiple Spectral Inputs Improve Motion Discrimination in the Drosophila Visual System

Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 925-931
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215317

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Color and Movement

From humans to insects, color and motion information are thought to be channeled through separate neural pathways for efficient visual processing, but it remains unclear if and how these pathways interact in improving perception of moving colored stimuli. By using sophisticated Drosophila genetics, intracellular electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, and behavioral experiments, Wardill et al. (p. 925) found that early in the processing stage-color photoreceptors influence the motion pathway and that this input improves the flies' optomotor performance in a flight simulator.

Abstract

Color and motion information are thought to be channeled through separate neural pathways, but it remains unclear whether and how these pathways interact to improve motion perception. In insects, such as Drosophila, it has long been believed that motion information is fed exclusively by one spectral class of photoreceptor, so-called R1 to R6 cells; whereas R7 and R8 photoreceptors, which exist in multiple spectral classes, subserve color vision. Here, we report that R7 and R8 also contribute to the motion pathway. By using electrophysiological, optical, and behavioral assays, we found that R7/R8 information converge with and shape the motion pathway output, explaining flies’ broadly tuned optomotor behavior by its composite responses. Our results demonstrate that inputs from photoreceptors of different spectral sensitivities improve motion discrimination, increasing robustness of perception.

View Full Text