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Pretectal neurons control hunting behaviour

Antinucci, P; Folgueira, M; Bianco, IH; (2019) Pretectal neurons control hunting behaviour. Elife , 8 , Article e48114. 10.7554/eLife.48114. Green open access

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Abstract

For many species, hunting is an innate behaviour that is crucial for survival, yet the circuits that control predatory action sequences are poorly understood. We used larval zebrafish to identify a population of pretectal neurons that control hunting. By combining calcium imaging with a virtual hunting assay, we identified a discrete pretectal region that is selectively active when animals initiate hunting. Targeted genetic labelling allowed us to examine the function and morphology of individual cells and identify two classes of pretectal neuron that project to ipsilateral optic tectum or the contralateral tegmentum. Optogenetic stimulation of single neurons of either class was able to induce sustained hunting sequences, in the absence of prey. Furthermore, laser ablation of these neurons impaired prey-catching and prevented induction of hunting by optogenetic stimulation of the anterior-ventral tectum. We propose that this specific population of pretectal neurons functions as a command system to induce predatory behaviour.

Type: Article
Title: Pretectal neurons control hunting behaviour
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.48114
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.48114
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Antinucci et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: command system, neuroscience, optic tectum, optogenetics, predation, pretectum, sensorimotor processing, zebrafish
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083782
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