Visual Orientation Memory and Orientation Behavior

Goal: Understanding the underpinnings of a visual working memory and autonomous orientation. We are unravelling the signaling cascades and neuronal network underlying uninterrupted orientation in a cluttered environment. Furthermore, we are analyzing steps of visual information processing enabling distance estimation.


View into the virtual-reality paradigm during a test for the visual working memory.
A. The fly approaches a visual object. B. The target disappears and an attractive distracter shows up. The fly reorients. C. The distracter disappears; the fly remembers its initial plan and resumes approaching the original target object.


Visual Working Memory:

  • Kuntz, S., Poeck, B., Strauss, R. (2017). Visual working memory requires permissive and instructive NO/cGMP signaling at presynapses in the Drosophila central brain. Current Biology 27(5): 613-623.
  • Thran, J., Poeck, B., Strauss, R. (2013). Serum Response Factor (SRF) mediated gene regulation in a Drosophila visual working memory. Current Biology 23: 1756-1763.
  • Kuntz, S., Poeck, B., Sokolowski, M.B., Strauss, R. (2012). The visual orientation memory of Drosophila requires Foraging (PKG) upstream of Ignorant (RSK2) in ring neurons of the central complex. Learning & Memory 19: 337-340.
  • Neuser, K., Triphan, T., Mronz, M., Poeck, B., Strauss, R. (2008). Analysis of a spatial orientation memory in Drosophila. Nature 453: 1244-1247.


Distance Estimation:

  • Triphan, T., Nern, A., Roberts, S.F., Korff, W., Naiman, D.Q., Strauss, R. (2016) A screen for constituents of motor control and decision making in Drosophila reveals visual distance-estimation neurons. Scientific Reports 6: article no. 27000; DOI: 10.1038/srep27000.
  • Schuster, S., Strauss, R., Götz, K.G. (2002). Virtual reality techniques resolve the visual cues used by fruit flies to evaluate object distances. Current Biology 12: 1591-1594.