The diversity of lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) in the Drosophila motion vision system

Huayi Wei, Ha Young Kyung, Priscilla J. Kim, Claude Desplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To navigate through the environment, animals rely on visual feedback to control their movements relative to their surroundings. In dipteran flies, visual feedback is provided by the wide-field motion-sensitive neurons in the visual system called lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs). Understanding the role of LPTCs in fly behaviors can address many fundamental questions on how sensory circuits guide behaviors. The blowfly was estimated to have ~ 60 LPTCs, but only a few have been identified in Drosophila. We conducted a Gal4 driver screen and identified five LPTC subtypes in Drosophila, based on their morphological characteristics: LPTCs have large arborizations in the lobula plate and project to the central brain. We compared their morphologies to the blowfly LPTCs and named them after the most similar blowfly cells: CH, H1, H2, FD1 and FD3, and V1. We further characterized their pre- and post-synaptic organizations, as well as their neurotransmitter profiles. These anatomical features largely agree with the anatomy and function of their likely blowfly counterparts. Nevertheless, several anatomical details indicate the Drosophila LPTCs may have more complex functions. Our characterization of these five LPTCs in Drosophila will facilitate further functional studies to understand their roles in the visual circuits that instruct fly behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Drosophila
  • LPTC
  • Lobula plate
  • Motion vision
  • Optomotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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