Development of vestibular behaviors in zebrafish

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Dec:53:83-89. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2018.06.004. Epub 2018 Jun 26.


Most animals orient their bodies with respect to gravity to facilitate locomotion and perception. The neural circuits responsible for these orienting movements have long served as a model to address fundamental questions in systems neuroscience. Though postural control is vital, we know little about development of either balance reflexes or the neural circuitry that produces them. Recent work in a genetically and optically accessible vertebrate, the larval zebrafish, has begun to reveal the mechanisms by which such vestibular behaviors and circuits come to function. Here we highlight recent work that leverages the particular advantages of the larval zebrafish to illuminate mechanisms of postural development, the role of sensation for balance circuit development, and the organization of developing vestibular circuits. Further, we frame open questions regarding the developmental mechanisms for functional circuit assembly and maturation where studying the zebrafish vestibular system is likely to open new frontiers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Larva / growth & development*
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / growth & development*
  • Zebrafish / growth & development*