Dynamic gating of fly vision


April 28, 2015 - 1:00pm
NW 243
About the Speaker
Gaby Maimon (Rockefeller)

Each time we execute a rapid eye movement, or a locomoting fly intentionally turns, the visual image sweeps briskly over the retina and generates a stimulus that is irrelevant for behavior. Sixty-five years ago, behavioral experiments in flies suggested that insects address this problem by dynamically suppressing visual processing during voluntary locomotor turns, however, direct cellular evidence has been lacking. I will describe experiments where we show that visual neurons in Drosophila receive motor-related inputs during rapid flight turns. These inputs arrive with a cell-type-tailored sign and latency, tuned to suppress each targeted cell’s visual responses. Experiments with reversibly blinded flies, alongside precise measurements of behavioral and neuronal latencies, show that motor-related inputs to cells that process optic flow represent an internal calculation rather than sensory feedback. The diversity of signals I will describe indicate that even small brains, and not just primates, perform several discrete computations with each gaze change.