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Identification of nonvisual photomotor response cells in the vertebrate hindbrain.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Neuroscience
1529-2401
Publisher
Society for Neuroscience
Publication Date
Volume
33
Issue
9
Pages
3834–3843
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3689-12.2013
PMID: 23447595
Source
Medline

Abstract

Nonvisual photosensation enables animals to sense light without sight. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of nonvisual photobehaviors are poorly understood, especially in vertebrate animals. Here, we describe the photomotor response (PMR), a robust and reproducible series of motor behaviors in zebrafish that is elicited by visual wavelengths of light but does not require the eyes, pineal gland, or other canonical deep-brain photoreceptive organs. Unlike the relatively slow effects of canonical nonvisual pathways, motor circuits are strongly and quickly (seconds) recruited during the PMR behavior. We find that the hindbrain is both necessary and sufficient to drive these behaviors. Using in vivo calcium imaging, we identify a discrete set of neurons within the hindbrain whose responses to light mirror the PMR behavior. Pharmacological inhibition of the visual cycle blocks PMR behaviors, suggesting that opsin-based photoreceptors control this behavior. These data represent the first known light-sensing circuit in the vertebrate hindbrain.

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