Flying animals need continual sensory feedback about their body position and orientation for flight control. The visual system provides essential but slow feedback. In contrast, mechanosensory channels can provide feedback at much shorter timescales. How the contributions from these two senses are integrated remains an open question in most insect groups. In Diptera, fast mechanosensory feedback is provided by organs called halteres, and is crucial for the control of rapid flight manoeuvres, while vision controls manoeuvres in lower temporal frequency bands. Here we have investigated the visual-mechanosensory integration in the hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum. They represent a large group of insects that use Johnston's organs in their antennae to provide mechanosensory feedback on perturbations in body position. Our experiments show that antennal mechanosensory feedback specifically mediates fast flight manoeuvres, but not slow ones. Moreover, we did not observe compensatory interactions between antennal and visual feedback.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 2 and 3, as well as Figure 2-figure supplement 1, Figure 2-figure supplement 2 and Figure 3-figure supplement 1.
- Almut Kelber
- Almut Kelber
- James J Foster
- Ajinkya Dahake
- Sanjay P Sane
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2018, Dahake et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The functional complementarity of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and optokinetic reflex (OKR) allows for optimal combined gaze stabilization responses (CGR) in light. While sensory substitution has been reported following complete vestibular loss, the capacity of the central vestibular system to compensate for partial peripheral vestibular loss remains to be determined. Here, we first demonstrate the efficacy of a 6-week subchronic ototoxic protocol in inducing transient and partial vestibular loss which equally affects the canal- and otolith-dependent VORs. Immunostaining of hair cells in the vestibular sensory epithelia revealed that organ-specific alteration of type I, but not type II, hair cells correlates with functional impairments. The decrease in VOR performance is paralleled with an increase in the gain of the OKR occurring in a specific range of frequencies where VOR normally dominates gaze stabilization, compatible with a sensory substitution process. Comparison of unimodal OKR or VOR versus bimodal CGR revealed that visuo-vestibular interactions remain reduced despite a significant recovery in the VOR. Modeling and sweep-based analysis revealed that the differential capacity to optimally combine OKR and VOR correlates with the reproducibility of the VOR responses. Overall, these results shed light on the multisensory reweighting occurring in pathologies with fluctuating peripheral vestibular malfunction.
Genuinely new discovery transcends existing knowledge. Despite this, many analyses in systems neuroscience neglect to test new speculative hypotheses against benchmark empirical facts. Some of these analyses inadvertently use circular reasoning to present existing knowledge as new discovery. Here, I discuss that this problem can confound key results and estimate that it has affected more than three thousand studies in network neuroscience over the last decade. I suggest that future studies can reduce this problem by limiting the use of speculative evidence, integrating existing knowledge into benchmark models, and rigorously testing proposed discoveries against these models. I conclude with a summary of practical challenges and recommendations.