Parallel visual pathways with topographic versus non-topographic organization connect the Drosophila eyes to the central brain

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Lorin TimaeusThomas Hummel

Abstract

One hallmark of the visual system is the strict retinotopic organization from the periphery towards the central brain, spanning multiple layers of synaptic integration. Recent Drosophila studies on the computation of distinct visual features have shown that retinotopic representation is often lost beyond the optic lobes, due to convergence of columnar neuron types onto optic glomeruli. Nevertheless, functional imaging revealed a spatially accurate representation of visual cues in the central complex (CX), raising the question how this is implemented on a circuit level. By characterizing the afferents to a specific visual glomerulus, the anterior optic tubercle (AOTU), we discovered a spatial segregation of topographic versus non-topographic projections from molecularly distinct classes of medulla projection neurons (medullo-tubercular, or MeTu neurons). Distinct classes of topographic versus non-topographic MeTus form parallel channels, terminating in separate AOTU domains. Both types then synapse onto separate matching topographic fields of tubercular-bulbar (TuBu) neurons which relay visual information towards the dendritic fields of central complex ring neurons in the bulb neuropil, where distinct bulb sectors correspond to ...Continue Reading

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