Cross-modal sensory communication is an innate biological process that refers to the combination and/or interpretation of different types of sensory input in the brain. Often, this process conjugates with neural modulation, by which the neural signals that convey sensory information are adjusted, such as intensity, frequency, complexity, and/or novelty. Although the anatomic pathways involved in cross-modal sensory integration have been previously described, the course of development and the physiological roles of multisensory signaling integration in brain functions remain to be elucidated. In this article, I review some of the recent findings in sensory integration from research using the zebrafish models. In zebrafish, cross-modal sensory integration occurs between the olfactory and visual systems. It is mediated by the olfacto-retinal centrifugal (ORC) pathway, which originates from the terminalis nerve (TN) in the olfactory bulb and terminates in the neural retina. In the retina, the TNs synapse with the inner nuclear layer dopaminergic interplexiform cells (DA-IPCs). Through the ORC pathway, stimulation of the olfactory neurons alters the cellular activity of TNs and DA-IPCs, which in turn modulates retinal neural function and increases behavioral visual sensitivity.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (