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Neural circuits mediating visual flight control in flies II: Separation of two control systems by microsurgical brain lesions

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Hausen,  K
Former Department Information Processing in Insects, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Wehrhahn,  C
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Former Department Comparative Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Hausen, K., & Wehrhahn, C. (1990). Neural circuits mediating visual flight control in flies II: Separation of two control systems by microsurgical brain lesions. The Journal of Neuroscience, 10(1), 351-360. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.10-01-00351.1990.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-EEAB-8
Abstract
The role of 2 sets of interneurons in the optic lobes of blowflies in visual course control was studied by means of brain lesions. The first set comprises the cells HS and H2, which respond to global horizontal motion. The second set are the FD-cells, which respond selectively to local horizontal motion. All these cells are output neurons of the third optic ganglion of flies and are thought to be coupled via descending neurons to the flight motor system. In 2 series of experiments specific cells of these 2 sets were inactivated by microsurgical brain lesions L1 and L2 respectively. The effects of the lesions on visual course control were tested by measuring the yaw torque responses of the animals in restrained flight before and after the operation. The flies were stimulated in these tests with monocular and binocular motion of periodic gratings moving in either the horizontal or the vertical direction. Lesion L1 in the right side of the brain inactivates the right HS-cells and the left H2- and FD-cells. This leads to a complete block of the response to binocular clockwise horizontal motion and a reduction of the response to monocular motion from front to back on the right side of the animal. Application of L1 also leads to a pronounced response to binocular motion from front to back not observed in normal animals. The response to monocular vertical motion is unaffected. Lesion L2 reduces all responses to monocular and binocular horizontal motion present in normal animals. The behavioral effects of the lesions are highly specific and consistent with predictions based on the well-known anatomical and physiological properties of the neural circuitry investigated. The results demonstrate directly that the HS-, H2-, and FD-cells control motion- induced steering maneuvers in flight.