Orientation tuning of motion-sensitive neurons shaped by vertical-horizontal network interactions

J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2003 May;189(5):363-70. doi: 10.1007/s00359-003-0410-6. Epub 2003 Apr 26.


We measured the orientation tuning of two neurons of the fly lobula plate (H1 and H2 cells) sensitive to horizontal image motion. Our results show that H1 and H2 cells are sensitive to vertical motion, too. Their response depended on the position of the vertically moving stimuli within their receptive field. Stimulation within the frontal receptive field produced an asymmetric response: upward motion left the H1/H2 spike frequency nearly unaltered while downward motion increased the spike frequency to about 40% of their maximum responses to horizontal motion. In the lateral parts of their receptive fields, no such asymmetry in the responses to vertical image motion was found. Since downward motion is known to be the preferred direction of neurons of the vertical system in the lobula plate, we analyzed possible interactions between vertical system cells and H1 and H2 cells. Depolarizing current injection into the most frontal vertical system cell (VS1) led to an increased spike frequency, hyperpolarizing current injection to a decreased spike frequency in both H1 and H2 cells. Apart from VS1, no other vertical system cell (VS2-8) had any detectable influence on either H1 or H2 cells. The connectivity of VS1 and H1/H2 is also shown to influence the response properties of both centrifugal horizontal cells in the contralateral lobula plate, which are known to be postsynaptic to the H1 and H2 cells. The vCH cell receives additional input from the contralateral VS2-3 cells via the spiking interneuron V1.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diptera
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / cytology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Motion*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Space Perception
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology