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87 Publications

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    06/12/22 | Metamorphosis of memory circuits in Drosophila reveal a strategy for evolving a larval brain.
    James W. Truman , Jacquelyn Price , Rosa L. Miyares , Tzumin Lee
    bioRxiv. 2022 Jun 12:. doi: 10.1101/2022.06.09.495452

    Insects like Drosophila produce a second brain adapted to the form and behavior of a larva. Neurons for both larval and adult brains are produced by the same stem cells (neuroblasts) but the larva possesses only the earliest born neurons produced from each. To understand how a functional larval brain is made from this reduced set of neurons, we examined the origins and metamorphic fates of the neurons of the larval and adult mushroom body circuits. The adult mushroom body core is built sequentially of γ Kenyon cells, that form a medial lobe, followed by α’β’, and αβ Kenyon cells that form additional medial lobes and two vertical lobes. Extrinsic input (MBINs) and output (MBONs) neurons divide this core into computational compartments. The larval mushroom body contains only γ neurons. Its medial lobe compartments are roughly homologous to those of the adult and same MBONs are used for both. The larval vertical lobe, however, is an analogous “facsimile” that uses a larval-specific branch on the γ neurons to make up for the missing α’β’, and αβ neurons. The extrinsic cells for the facsimile are early-born neurons that trans-differentiate to serve a mushroom body function in the larva and then shift to other brain circuits in the adult. These findings are discussed in the context of the evolution of a larval brain in insects with complete metamorphosis.

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    11/10/21 | Circuits for integrating learned and innate valences in the insect brain.
    Eschbach C, Fushiki A, Winding M, Afonso B, Andrade IV, Cocanougher BT, Eichler K, Gepner R, Si G, Valdes-Aleman J, Fetter RD, Gershow M, Jefferis GS, Samuel AD, Truman JW, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    eLife. 2021 Nov 10;10:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.62567

    Animal behavior is shaped both by evolution and by individual experience. Parallel brain pathways encode innate and learned valences of cues, but the way in which they are integrated during action-selection is not well understood. We used electron microscopy to comprehensively map with synaptic resolution all neurons downstream of all Mushroom Body output neurons (encoding learned valences) and characterized their patterns of interaction with Lateral Horn neurons (encoding innate valences) in larva. The connectome revealed multiple types that receive convergent Mushroom Body and Lateral Horn inputs. A subset of these receives excitatory input from positive-valence MB and LH pathways and inhibitory input from negative-valence MB pathways. We confirmed functional connectivity from LH and MB pathways and behavioral roles of two of these neurons. These neurons encode integrated odor value and bidirectionally regulate turning. Based on this we speculate that learning could potentially skew the balance of excitation and inhibition onto these neurons and thereby modulate turning. Together, our study provides insights into the circuits that integrate learned and innate valences to modify behavior.

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    Truman LabCardona Lab
    06/04/21 | Unveiling the sensory and interneuronal pathways of the neuroendocrine connectome in Drosophila.
    Hückesfeld S, Schlegel P, Miroschnikow A, Schoofs A, Zinke I, Haubrich AN, Schneider-Mizell CM, Truman JW, Fetter RD, Cardona A, Pankratz MJ
    eLife. 2021 Jun 04;10:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65745

    Neuroendocrine systems in animals maintain organismal homeostasis and regulate stress response. Although a great deal of work has been done on the neuropeptides and hormones that are released and act on target organs in the periphery, the synaptic inputs onto these neuroendocrine outputs in the brain are less well understood. Here, we use the transmission electron microscopy reconstruction of a whole central nervous system in the larva to elucidate the sensory pathways and the interneurons that provide synaptic input to the neurosecretory cells projecting to the endocrine organs. Predicted by network modeling, we also identify a new carbon dioxide-responsive network that acts on a specific set of neurosecretory cells and that includes those expressing corazonin (Crz) and diuretic hormone 44 (Dh44) neuropeptides. Our analysis reveals a neuronal network architecture for combinatorial action based on sensory and interneuronal pathways that converge onto distinct combinations of neuroendocrine outputs.

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    05/11/21 | A developmental framework linking neurogenesis and circuit formation in the Drosophila CNS.
    Mark B, Lai S, Zarin AA, Manning L, Pollington HQ, Litwin-Kumar A, Cardona A, Truman JW, Doe CQ
    eLife. 2021 May 11;10:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.67510

    The mechanisms specifying neuronal diversity are well-characterized, yet it remains unclear how or if these mechanisms regulate neural circuit assembly. To address this, we mapped the developmental origin of 160 interneurons from seven bilateral neural progenitors (neuroblasts), and identify them in a synapse-scale TEM reconstruction of the larval CNS. We find that lineages concurrently build the sensory and motor neuropils by generating sensory and motor hemilineages in a Notch-dependent manner. Neurons in a hemilineage share common synaptic targeting within the neuropil, which is further refined based on neuronal temporal identity. Connectome analysis shows that hemilineage-temporal cohorts share common connectivity. Finally, we show that proximity alone cannot explain the observed connectivity structure, suggesting hemilineage/temporal identity confers an added layer of specificity. Thus, we demonstrate that the mechanisms specifying neuronal diversity also govern circuit formation and function, and that these principles are broadly applicable throughout the nervous system.

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    12/02/20 | Central processing of leg proprioception in Drosophila.
    Agrawal S, Dickinson ES, Sustar A, Gurung P, Shepherd D, Truman JW, Tuthill JC
    eLife. 2020 Dec 02;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.60299

    Proprioception, the sense of self-movement and position, is mediated by mechanosensory neurons that detect diverse features of body kinematics. Although proprioceptive feedback is crucial for accurate motor control, little is known about how downstream circuits transform limb sensory information to guide motor output. Here, we investigate neural circuits in that process proprioceptive information from the fly leg. We identify three cell-types from distinct developmental lineages that are positioned to receive input from proprioceptor subtypes encoding tibia position, movement, and vibration. 13Bα neurons encode femur-tibia joint angle and mediate postural changes in tibia position. 9Aα neurons also drive changes in leg posture, but encode a combination of directional movement, high frequency vibration, and joint angle. Activating 10Bα neurons, which encode tibia vibration at specific joint angles, elicits pausing in walking flies. Altogether, our results reveal that central circuits integrate information across proprioceptor subtypes to construct complex sensorimotor representations that mediate diverse behaviors, including reflexive control of limb posture and detection of leg vibration.

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    03/27/20 | Unc-4 acts to promote neuronal identity and development of the take-off circuit in the Drosophila CNS.
    Lacin H, Williamson WR, Card GM, Skeath JB, Truman JW
    eLife. 2020 Mar 27;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.55007
    03/23/20 | Recurrent architecture for adaptive regulation of learning in the insect brain.
    Eschbach C, Fushiki A, Winding M, Schneider-Mizell CM, Shao M, Arruda R, Eichler K, Valdes-Aleman J, Ohyama T, Thum AS, Gerber B, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Litwin-Kumar A, Cardona A, Zlatic M, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    Nature Neuroscience. 2020 Mar 23;23(4):544-55. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0607-9

    Dopaminergic neurons (DANs) drive learning across the animal kingdom, but the upstream circuits that regulate their activity and thereby learning remain poorly understood. We provide a synaptic-resolution connectome of the circuitry upstream of all DANs in a learning center, the mushroom body of Drosophila larva. We discover afferent sensory pathways and a large population of neurons that provide feedback from mushroom body output neurons and link distinct memory systems (aversive and appetitive). We combine this with functional studies of DANs and their presynaptic partners and with comprehensive circuit modeling. We find that DANs compare convergent feedback from aversive and appetitive systems, which enables the computation of integrated predictions that may improve future learning. Computational modeling reveals that the discovered feedback motifs increase model flexibility and performance on learning tasks. Our study provides the most detailed view to date of biological circuit motifs that support associative learning.

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    10/15/19 | Developmental organization of central neurons in the adult Drosophila ventral nervous system.
    Shepherd D, Sahota V, Court R, Williams DW, Truman JW
    Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2019 Oct 15;527(15):2573-2598. doi: 10.1002/cne.24690

    We have used MARCM to reveal the adult morphology of the post embryonically produced neurons in the thoracic neuromeres of the Drosophila VNS. The work builds on previous studies of the origins of the adult VNS neurons to describe the clonal organization of the adult VNS. We present data for 58 of 66 postembryonic thoracic lineages, excluding the motor neuron producing lineages (15 and 24) which have been described elsewhere. MARCM labels entire lineages but where both A and B hemilineages survive (e.g., lineages 19, 12, 13, 6, 1, 3, 8, and 11), the two hemilineages can be discriminated and we have described each hemilineage separately. Hemilineage morphology is described in relation to the known functional domains of the VNS neuropil and based on the anatomy we are able to assign broad functional roles for each hemilineage. The data show that in a thoracic hemineuromere, 16 hemilineages are primarily involved in controlling leg movements and walking, 9 are involved in the control of wing movements, and 10 interface between both leg and wing control. The data provide a baseline of understanding of the functional organization of the adult Drosophila VNS. By understanding the morphological organization of these neurons, we can begin to define and test the rules by which neuronal circuits are assembled during development and understand the functional logic and evolution of neuronal networks.

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    Truman LabCardona Lab
    06/14/19 | Regulation of forward and backward locomotion through intersegmental feedback circuits in Drosophila larvae.
    Kohsaka H, Zwart MF, Fushiki A, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Cardona A, Nose A
    Nature Communications. 2019 Jun 14;10(1):2654. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10695-y

    Animal locomotion requires spatiotemporally coordinated contraction of muscles throughout the body. Here, we investigate how contractions of antagonistic groups of muscles are intersegmentally coordinated during bidirectional crawling of Drosophila larvae. We identify two pairs of higher-order premotor excitatory interneurons present in each abdominal neuromere that intersegmentally provide feedback to the adjacent neuromere during motor propagation. The two feedback neuron pairs are differentially active during either forward or backward locomotion but commonly target a group of premotor interneurons that together provide excitatory inputs to transverse muscles and inhibitory inputs to the antagonistic longitudinal muscles. Inhibition of either feedback neuron pair compromises contraction of transverse muscles in a direction-specific manner. Our results suggest that the intersegmental feedback neurons coordinate contraction of synergistic muscles by acting as delay circuits representing the phase lag between segments. The identified circuit architecture also shows how bidirectional motor networks could be economically embedded in the nervous system.

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    Truman LabSinger Lab
    03/26/19 | Neurotransmitter identity is acquired in a lineage-restricted manner in the Drosophila CNS.
    Lacin H, Chen H, Long X, Singer RH, Lee T, Truman JW
    Elife. 2019 Mar 26;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43701

    The vast majority of the adult fly ventral nerve cord is composed of 34 hemilineages, which are clusters of lineally related neurons. Neurons in these hemilineages use one of the three fast-acting neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, GABA, or glutamate) for communication. We generated a comprehensive neurotransmitter usage map for the entire ventral nerve cord. We did not find any cases of neurons using more than one neurotransmitter, but found that the acetylcholine specific gene ChAT is transcribed in many glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, but these transcripts typically do not leave the nucleus and are not translated. Importantly, our work uncovered a simple rule: All neurons within a hemilineage use the same neurotransmitter. Thus, neurotransmitter identity is acquired at the stem cell level. Our detailed transmitter- usage/lineage identity map will be a great resource for studying the developmental basis of behavior and deciphering how neuronal circuits function to regulate behavior.

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