Circuit mechanisms underlying chromatic encoding in Drosophila photoreceptors [article]

Sarah L Heath, Matthias P Christenson, Elie Oriol, Maia Saavedra-Weisenhaus, Jessica R Kohn, Rudy Behnia
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Spectral information is commonly processed in the brain through generation of antagonistic responses to different wavelengths. In many species, these color opponent signals arise as early as photoreceptor terminals. Here, we measure the spectral tuning of photoreceptors in Drosophila. In addition to a previously described pathway comparing wavelengths at each point in space, we find a horizontal-cell-mediated pathway similar to that found in mammals. This pathway enables additional spectral
more » ... arisons through lateral inhibition, expanding the range of chromatic encoding in the fly. Together, these two pathways enable optimal decorrelation of photoreceptor signals. A biologically constrained model accounts for our findings and predicts a spatio-chromatic receptive field for fly photoreceptor outputs, with a color opponent center and broadband surround. This dual mechanism combines motifs of both an insect-specific visual circuit and an evolutionarily convergent circuit architecture, endowing flies with the unique ability to extract chromatic information at distinct spatial resolutions.
doi:10.1101/790295 fatcat:av557autezcdrdrobhc2hiuntu