Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 471–483 | Cite as

Deoxyglucose mapping of nervous activity induced inDrosophila brain by visual movement

I. Wildtype
  • Erich Buchner
  • Sigrid Buchner
  • Isabelle Bülthoff


Local metabolic activity was mapped in the brain ofDrosophila by the radioactive deoxyglucose technique. The distribution of label in serial autoradiographs allows us to draw the following conclusions concerning neuronal processing of visual movement information in the brain ofDrosophila.
  1. 1.

    The visual stimuli used (homogeneous flicker, moving gratings, reversing contrast gratings) cause only a small increase in metabolic activity in the first visual neuropil (lamina).

  2. 2.

    In the second visual neuropil (medulla) at least four layers respond to visual movement and reversing contrast gratings by increased metabolic activity; homogeneous flicker is less effective.

  3. 3.

    With the current autoradiographic resolution (2—3 μm) no directional selectivity can be detected in the medulla.

  4. 4.

    In the lobula, the anterior neuromere of the third visual neuropil, movement-specific activity is observed in three layers, two of which are more strongly labelled by ipsilateral front-to-back than by back-to-front movement.

  5. 5.

    In its posterior counterpart, the lobula plate, four movement-sensitive layers can be identified in which label accumulation specifically depends on the direction of the movement: Ipsilateral front-to-back movement labels a superficial anterior layer, back-to-front movement labels an inner anterior layer, upward movement labels an inner posterior layer and downward movement labels a superficial posterior layer.

  6. 6.

    A considerable portion of the stimulus-enhanced labelling of medulla and lobula complex is restricted to those columns which connect to the stimulated ommatidia. This retinotopic distribution of label suggests the involvement of movement-sensitive small-field neurons.

  7. 7.

    Certain axonal profiles connecting the lobula plate and the lateral posterior protocerebrum are labelled by ipsilateral front-to-back movement. Presumably different structures in the same region are labelled by ipsilateral downward movement. Conspicuously labelled foci and commissures in the central brain cannot yet be associated with a particular stimulus.


The results are discussed in the light of present anatomical and physiological knowledge of the visual movement detection system of flies.


Visual Movement Deoxyglucose Directional Selectivity Lobula Plate Posterior Layer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Braitenberg V, Hauser-Holschuh H (1972) Patterns of projections in the visual system of the fly II. Quantitative aspects of second order neurons in relation to models of movement perception. Exp Brain Res 16:184–209Google Scholar
  2. Buchner E (1976) Elementary movement detectors in an insect visual system. Biol Cybern 24:85–101Google Scholar
  3. Buchner E (1984) Behavioural analysis of spatial vision in insects. In: Ali MA (ed) Photoreception and vision in invertebrates. Plenum, New York, pp 561–621Google Scholar
  4. Buchner E, Buchner S (1980) Mapping of stimulus-induced nervous activity in small brains by3H-2-deoxy-D-glucose. Cell Tissue Res 211:51–64Google Scholar
  5. Buchner E, Buchner S (1983) Anatomical localization of functional activity in flies using3H-2-deoxy-D-glucose. In: Strausfeld NJ (ed) Functional neuroanatomy. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York Tokyo, pp 225–238Google Scholar
  6. Buchner E, Buchner S, Hengstenberg R (1979) 2-deoxy-D-glucose maps movement-specific nervous activity in the second visual ganglion ofDrosophila. Science 205:687–688Google Scholar
  7. Buchner E, Buchner S, Bülthoff H (1984) Identification of3H-deoxyglucose-labelled interneurons in the fly from serial autoradiographs. Brain Res 305:384–388Google Scholar
  8. Bülthoff H, Götz KG (1979) Analogous motion illusion in man and fly. Nature 278:636–638Google Scholar
  9. DeVoe RD (1980) Movement sensitivities of cells in the fly's medulla. J Comp Physiol 138:93–119Google Scholar
  10. DeVoe RD, Ockleford EM (1976) Intracellular responses from cells of the fly,Calliphora erythrocephala. Biol Cybern 23:13–24Google Scholar
  11. Durham D, Woolsey TA, Kruger L (1981) Cellular localization of 2-3H-deoxy-D-glucose from paraffin-embedded brains. J Neurosci 1:519–526Google Scholar
  12. Evequoz V, Stadelmann A, Tsacopoulos M (1983) The effect of light on glycogen turnover in the retina of the intact honeybee drone (Apis mellifera). J Comp Physiol 150:69–75Google Scholar
  13. Fischbach KF (1983) Neurogenetik am Beispiel des visuellen Systems vonDrosophila melanogaster. Habilitationsschrift, WürzburgGoogle Scholar
  14. Götz KG (1983) Genetic defects of visual orientation inDrosophila. Verh Dtsch Zool Ges 1983:83–99Google Scholar
  15. Götz KG, Buchner E (1978) Evidence for one-way movement detection in the visual system ofDrosophila. Biol Cybern 31:243–248Google Scholar
  16. Hausen K (1984) The lobula-complex of the fly: structure, function and significance in visual behaviour. In: Ali MA (ed) Photoreception and vision in invertebrates. Plenum, New York, pp 523–559Google Scholar
  17. Heisenberg M, Wolf R (1984) Vision inDrosophila. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York Tokyo (in press)Google Scholar
  18. Hengstenberg R (1982) Common visual response properties of giant vertical cells in the lobula plate of the blowflyCalliphora. J Comp Physiol 149:179–193Google Scholar
  19. Hengstenberg R, Hausen K, Hengstenberg B (1982) The number and structure of giant vertical cells (VS) in the lobula plate of the blowflyCalliphora erythrocephala. J Comp Physiol 149:163–177Google Scholar
  20. Hengstenberg R, Bülthoff H, Hengstenberg B (1983) Three-dimensional reconstruction and stereoscopic display of neurons in the fly visual system. In: Strausfeld NJ (ed) Functional neuroanatomy. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York Tokyo, pp 183–205Google Scholar
  21. Laughlin SB (1984) The roles of parallel channels in early visual processing by the arthropod eye. In: Ali MA (ed) Photoreception and vision in invertebrates. Plenum, New York, pp 457–481Google Scholar
  22. Mimura K (1972) Neural mechanisms, subserving directional selectivity of movement in the optic lobe of the fly. J Comp Physiol 80:409–437Google Scholar
  23. Poggio T, Reichardt W (1976) Visual control of orientation behaviour in the fly. Part II: Towards the underlying neural interactions. Q Rev Biophys 9:377–438Google Scholar
  24. Reichardt W (1973) Musterinduzierte Flugorientierung. Verhaltensversuche an der FliegeMusca domestica. Naturwissenschaften 60:122–138Google Scholar
  25. Reichardt W, Poggio T (1976) Visual control of orientation behaviour in the fly. Part I: A quantitative analysis. Q Rev Biophys 9:311–375Google Scholar
  26. Schwartz WJ, Smith CB, Davidsen L, Sokoloff L, Mata M, Fink DJ, Gainer H (1979) Metabolic mapping of functional activity in the hypothalamo-neuro-hypophysial system of the rat. Science 205:723–725Google Scholar
  27. Sejnowski TJ, Reingold SC, Kelley BB, Gelperin A (1980) Localization of3H-2-deoxyglucose in single molluscan neurones. Nature 287:449–451Google Scholar
  28. Sokoloff L (1982) The radioactive deoxyglucose method. Theory, procedure, and applications for the measurement of local glucose utilization in the central nervous system. Adv Neurochem 4:1–82Google Scholar
  29. Sokoloff L, Reivich M, Kennedy C, Des Rosiers MH, Pettigrew KD, Sakurada O, Shinohara M (1977) The14C-deoxyglucose method for the measurement of local cerebral glucose utilization: theory, procedure, and normal values in the conscious and anesthetized albino rat. J Neurochem 28:897–916Google Scholar
  30. Srinivasan MV, Dvorak DR (1980) Spatial processing of visual information in the movement-detecting pathway of the fly. J Comp Physiol 140:1–23Google Scholar
  31. Strausfeld NJ (1976) Atlas of an insect brain. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Strausfeld NJ (1984) Functional anatomy of the blowfly's visual system. In: Ali MA (ed) Photoreception and vision in invertebrates. Plenum, New York, pp 483–522Google Scholar
  33. Torre V, Poggio T (1978) A synaptic mechanism possibly underlying directional selectivity to motion. Proc R Soc Lond B 202:409–416Google Scholar
  34. Wegener G (1981) Comparative aspects of energy metabolism in non-mammalian brains under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. In: Stefanovich V (ed) Animal models and hypoxia. Pergamon, Oxford, pp 87–109Google Scholar
  35. Wehrhahn C, Hausen K (1980) How is tracking and fixation accomplished in the nervous system of the fly? Biol Cybern 38:179–186Google Scholar
  36. Young WG, Deutsch JA (1980) Effects of blood-glucose levels on14C-2-deoxyglucose uptake in rat-brain tissue. Neurosci Lett 20:89–93Google Scholar
  37. Zimmerman RP (1978) Field potential analysis and the physiology of second-order neurons in the visual system of the fly. J Comp Physiol 126:297–316Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erich Buchner
    • 1
  • Sigrid Buchner
    • 1
  • Isabelle Bülthoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für biologische KybernetikTübingenFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations