Direction selective cells have been found in the retina, the first level of the visual system, in mammals and recently also in the archer fish. These cells are involved in a variety of fast neural computation processes, from the control of eye movements to the detection of prey by the archer fish. The standard model for this mechanism in mammalian retina is well understood and is based on the asymmetry of inhibitory and excitatory inputs to the retinal ganglion cells. However, it remains unclear whether the mechanism that underlies direction selectivity is similar across animal classes. This study reports a pharmacological investigation designed to elucidate the mechanism that underlies motion detection in the archer fish retina. Direction selectivity in the retina was characterized under the influence of specific channel blockers that are known to be present in the different types of neurons of the retina. The results show that the direction-selective mechanism in the archer fish retina is modified only when the inhibitory channels of GABA and Glycine are manipulated. This suggests that the mechanism of direction selectivity in the archer fish retina is fundamentally different from the mechanism of direction selectivity in the mammalian retina.

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Journal of Integrative Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience

Pinsky, E., Donchin, O., & Segev, R. (2015). Pharmacological study of direction selectivity in the archer fish retina. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 14(4), 473–490. doi:10.1142/S0219635215500247