Circuit Organization Underlying Optic Flow Processing in Zebrafish

Front Neural Circuits. 2021 Jul 21;15:709048. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2021.709048. eCollection 2021.


Animals' self-motion generates a drifting movement of the visual scene in the entire field of view called optic flow. Animals use the sensation of optic flow to estimate their own movements and accordingly adjust their body posture and position and stabilize the direction of gaze. In zebrafish and other vertebrates, optic flow typically drives the optokinetic response (OKR) and optomotor response (OMR). Recent functional imaging studies in larval zebrafish have identified the pretectum as a primary center for optic flow processing. In contrast to the view that the pretectum acts as a relay station of direction-selective retinal inputs, pretectal neurons respond to much more complex visual features relevant to behavior, such as spatially and temporally integrated optic flow information. Furthermore, optic flow signals, as well as motor signals, are represented in the cerebellum in a region-specific manner. Here we review recent findings on the circuit organization that underlies the optic flow processing driving OKR and OMR.

Keywords: cerebellum; direction selective cells; optic flow; optokinetic response; optomotor response; pretectum; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Optic Flow / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Zebrafish