The avoidance of light by fly larvae is a classic paradigm for sensorimotor behavior. Here, we use behavioral assays and video microscopy to quantify the sensorimotor structure of phototaxis using the Drosophila larva. Larval locomotion is composed of sequences of runs (periods of forward movement) that are interrupted by abrupt turns, during which the larva pauses and sweeps its head back and forth, probing local light information to determine the direction of the successive run. All phototactic responses are mediated by the same set of sensorimotor transformations that require temporal processing of sensory inputs. Through functional imaging and genetic inactivation of specific neurons downstream of the sensory periphery, we have begun to map these sensorimotor circuits into the larval central brain.We find that specific sensorimotor pathways that govern distinct light-evoked responses begin to segregate at the first relay after the photosensory neurons.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2013|
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