Radial astrocyte synchronization modulates the visual system during behavioral-state transitions

Alejandro Uribe-Arias, Rotem Rozenblat, Ehud Vinepinsky, Emiliano Marachlian, Anirudh Kulkarni, David Zada, Martin Privat, Diego Topsakalian, Sarah Charpy, Virginie Candat, Sarah Nourin, Lior Appelbaum, Germán Sumbre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Glial cells support the function of neurons. Recent evidence shows that astrocytes are also involved in brain computations. To explore whether and how their excitable nature affects brain computations and motor behaviors, we used two-photon Ca2+ imaging of zebrafish larvae expressing GCaMP in both neurons and radial astrocytes (RAs). We found that in the optic tectum, RAs synchronize their Ca2+ transients immediately after the end of an escape behavior. Using optogenetics, ablations, and a genetically encoded norepinephrine sensor, we observed that RA synchronous Ca2+ events are mediated by the locus coeruleus (LC)-norepinephrine circuit. RA synchronization did not induce direct excitation or inhibition of tectal neurons. Nevertheless, it modulated the direction selectivity and the long-distance functional correlations among neurons. This mechanism supports freezing behavior following a switch to an alerted state. These results show that LC-mediated neuro-glial interactions modulate the visual system during transitions between behavioral states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4040-4057.e6
Issue number24
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


We thank F. Bouallague for help with zebrafish; P. Gongal for editorial assistance; and M. Ahrens, N. Rouach, G. Perea, T. Kawashima, and B. Barbour for comments on the manuscript. AIH. A.U-A. was supported by the École des Neurosciences de Paris Ile-de-France , ANR-10-LABX-54 MEMO LIFE , and ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02 PSL ∗ Université Paris . G.S. was supported by ERC CoG 726280 . L.A. was supported by Israel Science Foundation (ISF, grant no. 961/19 ) and U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF, grant no. 2021177 ). R.R. was supported by the Azrieli Foundation . The Sumbre lab can also be found on Mastodon at neuroscience-mastodon.com/@SumbreLab .

FundersFunder number
European Research Council726280
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2021177
Israel Science Foundation961/19
Azrieli Foundation
École des Neurosciences Paris Île de FranceANR-10-LABX-54 MEMO LIFE


    • behavioral states
    • functional connectivity
    • glia
    • locus coeruleus
    • neuronal circuits
    • optic tectum
    • optogenetics
    • two-photon calcium imaging
    • visual system
    • zebrafish


    Dive into the research topics of 'Radial astrocyte synchronization modulates the visual system during behavioral-state transitions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this