The Mauthner Cell Half a Century Later: A Neurobiological Model for Decision-Making?

  title={The Mauthner Cell Half a Century Later: A Neurobiological Model for Decision-Making?},
  author={Henri Korn and Donald S. Faber},

Figures from this paper

The Mauthner-cell circuit of fish as a model system for startle plasticity

Neural Representation of Object Approach in a Decision-Making Motor Circuit

Analysis of goldfish escapes in response to distinct visual looming stimuli with high-speed video compared with electrophysiological responses of the Mauthner cell, the threshold detector that initiates such behaviors suggests response threshold is closely correlated to a dynamically scaled function of angular retinal image size.

Removing a single neuron in a vertebrate brain forever abolishes an essential behavior

It is shown that the giant M axon is essential for rapid escapes and that its loss means that rapid escapes are also lost forever and that the absence of this giant neuron directly affects survival in encounters with a natural predator.

A specialized spinal circuit for command amplification and directionality during escape behavior

A specialized spinal circuit for the execution of escape direction in adult zebrafish is revealed, featuring a unique class of segmentally repeating cholinergic V2a interneurons expressing the transcription factor Chx10 and relying on strong axo-axonic synaptic connections.

Convergent Excitatory Pathways Mediate the Zebrafish Escape Behavior

This research is the first to show the central role of a convergent excitatory pathway for a startle behavior in the Mauthner cell, and is likely to be prevalent in other neural networks.

The aversive brain system of teleosts: Implications for neuroscience and biological psychiatry

The decision to move: response times, neuronal circuits and sensory memory in a simple vertebrate

It is concluded that sensory memory makes a fundamental contribution to simple decisions and is present in the brainstem of a basic vertebrate at a surprisingly early stage in development.



The Mauthner cell and other identified neurons of the brainstem escape network of fish

Role of the Mauthner cell in sensorimotor integration by the brain stem escape network.

This work shows that the firing of the Mauthner cell results in a short-latency body contraction that orients the initial stage of the C start away from the direction of the threatening stimulus, and identifies candidate neurons of this network which can be studied at the single-cell level.

Role of medullary networks and postsynaptic membrane properties in regulating Mauthner cell responsiveness to sensory excitation.

The frequency-dependent characteristics of inhibition and excitation, as revealed by studies of individual identified synaptic connections, are compared to emphasize the notion that although inhibition is maximized for weak transient stimuli, it becomes depressed at auditory stimulus frequencies that facilitate excitatory transmission and evoke the escape response.

Escape behavior — brainstem and spinal cord circuitry and function

Alternative neural pathways initiate fast-start responses following lesions of the mauthner neuron in goldfish

It is concluded that firing of the M-cell is causally related to the onset of C-type fast-start responses in adult fish, but, when the M -cell is inactivated, alternative neural pathways that coexist with theM-cell can initiate the C- type fast- start behavior pattern.

Central Cellular Mechanisms Underlying Temperature-Dependent Changes in the Goldfish Startle-Escape Behavior

The results illustrate that the balance between excitatory and inhibitory influences can determine the expression of a behavior and its modification and at the same time underline the significance of temperature for nervous system function and behavior.

Molecular biology of learning: modulation of transmitter release.

This review focuses primarily on short-term sensitization of the gill and siphon reflex in the marine mollusk, Aplysia californica, and analyses of this form of learning provide direct evidence that protein phosphorylation dependent on cyclic adenosine monophosphate can modulate synaptic action.

Differential activation of Mauthner and non-Mauthner startle circuits in the zebrafish: Implications for functional substitution

It is demonstrated that vibrational stimulation of the tail reliably elicits responses initiated by non-Mauthner circuits in animals with intact M-cells, and at least two sensory systems are involved in the activation of these startle systems when stimulating the head and tail of the zebrafish.

The command neuron concept

It is suggested that a command neuron be defined as a neuron that is both necessary and sufficient for the initiation of a given behavior, even though individual neurons of the group fail to meet the criteria.