Initiation of Mauthner- or Non-Mauthner-Mediated Fast Escape Evoked by Different Modes of Sensory Input
Journal of Neuroscience
Brainstem reticulospinal neurons (RSNs) serve as the major descending system in vertebrate sensorimotor integration. One of the paired RSNs in zebrafish, the Mauthner (M) cell, is thought to initiate fast escape from sudden noxious stimuli. Two other paired RSNs, morphologically homologous to the M-cell, are also suggested to play key roles in controlling fast escape. However, the relationship among activities of the M-cell and its homologs during fast escape and the sensory inputs that elicit
... inputs that elicit escape via their activation are unclear. We have monitored hindbrain RSN activity simultaneously with tail flip movement during fast escape in zebrafish. Confocal calcium imaging of RSNs was performed on larvae rostrally embedded in agar but with their tails allowed to move freely. Application of a pulsed waterjet to the otic vesicle (OV) to activate acousticovestibular input elicited contralateral fast tail flips with short latency and an apparent Ca 2ϩ increase, reflecting a single action potential, in the ipsilateral M-cell (M-escape). Application of waterjet to head skin for tactile stimulation elicited fast escapes, but onset was delayed and the M-cell did not fire (non-M-escape). After eliminating either the M-cell or OV, only non-M-escape was initiated. Simultaneous high-speed confocal imaging of the M-cell and one of its homologs, MiD3cm , revealed complementary activation during fast escape: MiD3cm activity was low during M-escape but high during non-M-escape. These results suggest that M-cell firing is necessary for fast escape with short latency elicited by acousticovestibular input and that MiD3cm is more involved in non-M-escape driven by head-tactile input.