Custom-made optokinetic drum for the recording of the optokinetic response (OKR) in zebrafish larvae

Behavioral recording

At the time when I was at UCSF in Baier lab, the lab was using a projector to make the optokinetic stimuli (Roeser and Baier 2003 Fig.2A; Muto et al., 2005). It had the flexbility to change the contrast, speed or whatever prameters for the stimili because it was simply projetion of computer-generated animation. Alternatively, the optokinetic stimulator can be made using a drum, which is much more cost-effective. Inside the drum, a paper, ( on which vertical stripes are printed) is put on. The rotating parts are piping parts borrowed from our fish room. You need to find some part that can be rotated! Tamiya motor and gearbox are used to drive the rotation of the drum. The orientation of the rotation can be reversed with the switch (manually opereted). The two ends of the “timing belt” (black belt in the picture below) is hotchkissed to make it circular.

This optokinetic drum was used in the OKR recording in Muto et al. 2017 Nat Commun paper. The equipment was set under a stereo microsope. A 35 mm petridish lid (a larva is embedded in methyl cellulose) can be put in the drum.

Recording of the optokinetic response

A zebrafish larva was placed in 3% methylcellulose (3 ml) at the centre of a 35 ml-petri dish lid. The dish was placed in a custom-made motorized optokinetic drum (inner diameter 55 mm, height 80 mm). On the inner wall of the optokinetic drum, vertically striped sinusoidal gratings (360° per 18 cycles) were present. The drum was rotated at a constant speed of 360° per 7 s for the optokinetic stimulation. (Muto et al. 2017 Nat Commun Method section)


References and Links

  1. Activation of the hypothalamic feeding centre upon visual prey detection. Akira Muto, Pradeep Lal, Deepak Ailani, Gembu Abe, Mari Itoh & Koichi Kawakami. Nature Communications volume 8, Article number: 15029 (2017) Published: 20 April 2017
  2. Forward Genetic Analysis of Visual Behavior in Zebrafish. Akira Muto , Michael B Orger , Ann M Wehman, Matthew C Smear, Jeremy N Kay, Patrick S Page-McCaw, Ethan Gahtan, Tong Xiao, Linda M Nevin, Nathan J Gosse, Wendy Staub, Karin Finger-Baier, Herwig Baier. PLOS GENETICS Published: November 25, 2005
  3. Visuomotor Behaviors in Larval Zebrafish after GFP-Guided Laser Ablation of the Optic Tectum. Tobias Roeser and Herwig Baier. Journal of Neuroscience 1 May 2003, 23 (9) 3726-3734; DOI: