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    The larval zebrafish optic tectum has emerged as a prominent model for understanding how neural circuits control visually guided behaviors. Further advances in this area will require tools to monitor and manipulate tectal neurons with cell type specificity. Here, we characterize the morphology and neurotransmitter phenotype of tectal neurons labeled by an id2b:gal4 transgene. Whole-brain imaging of stable transgenic id2b:gal4 larvae revealed labeling in a subset of neurons in optic tectum, cerebellum, and hindbrain. Genetic mosaic labeling of single neurons within the id2b:gal4 expression pattern enabled us to characterize three tectal neuron types with distinct morphologies and connectivities. The first is a neuron type previously identified in the optic tectum of other teleost fish: the tectal pyramidal neuron (PyrN). PyrNs are local interneurons that form two stratified dendritic arbors and one stratified axonal arbor in the tectal neuropil. The second tectal neuron type labeled by the id2b:gal4 transgene is a projection neuron that forms a stratified dendritic arbor in the tectal neuropil and an axon that exits tectum to form a topographic projection to torus longitudinalis (TL). A third neuron type labeled is a projection neuron with a nonstratified dendritic arbor and a descending axonal projection to tegmentum. These findings establish the id2b:gal4 transgenic as a useful tool for future studies aimed at elucidating the functional role of tectum, TL, and tegmentum in visually guided behaviors. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


    Elisabeth DeMarco, Nina Xu, Herwig Baier, Estuardo Robles. Neuron types in the zebrafish optic tectum labeled by an id2b transgene. The Journal of comparative neurology. 2020 May;528(7):1173-1188

    PMID: 31725916

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