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87 Publications

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    Truman LabStern LabFly Functional Connectome
    06/20/16 | Doublesex regulates the connectivity of a neural circuit controlling Drosophila male courtship song.
    Shirangi TR, Wong AM, Truman JW, Stern DL
    Developmental Cell. 2016 Jun 20;37(6):533-44. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.05.012

    It is unclear how regulatory genes establish neural circuits that compose sex-specific behaviors. The Drosophila melanogaster male courtship song provides a powerful model to study this problem. Courting males vibrate a wing to sing bouts of pulses and hums, called pulse and sine song, respectively. We report the discovery of male-specific thoracic interneurons—the TN1A neurons—that are required specifically for sine song. The TN1A neurons can drive the activity of a sex-non-specific wing motoneuron, hg1, which is also required for sine song. The male-specific connection between the TN1A neurons and the hg1 motoneuron is regulated by the sexual differentiation gene doublesex. We find that doublesex is required in the TN1A neurons during development to increase the density of the TN1A arbors that interact with dendrites of the hg1motoneuron. Our findings demonstrate how a sexual differentiation gene can build a sex-specific circuit motif by modulating neuronal arborization.

    Doublesex-expressing TN1 neurons are necessary and sufficient for the male sine song•A subclass of TN1 neurons, TN1A, contributes to the sine song•TN1A neurons are functionally coupled to a sine song motoneuron, hg1Doublesex regulates the connectivity between the TN1A and hg1 neurons

    It is unclear how developmental regulatory genes specify sex-specific behaviors. Shirangi et al. demonstrate that the Drosophila sexual differentiation gene doublesex encodes a sex-specific behavior—male song—by promoting the connectivity between the male-specific TN1A neurons and the sex-non-specific hg1 neurons, which are required for production of the song.

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    05/25/16 | Genetic and environmental control of neurodevelopmental robustness in Drosophila.
    Mellert DJ, Williamson WR, Shirangi TR, Card GM, Truman JW
    PLoS One. 2016 May 25;11(5):e0155957. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155957

    Interindividual differences in neuronal wiring may contribute to behavioral individuality and affect susceptibility to neurological disorders. To investigate the causes and potential consequences of wiring variation in Drosophila melanogaster, we focused on a hemilineage of ventral nerve cord interneurons that exhibits morphological variability. We find that late-born subclasses of the 12A hemilineage are highly sensitive to genetic and environmental variation. Neurons in the second thoracic segment are particularly variable with regard to two developmental decisions, whereas its segmental homologs are more robust. This variability "hotspot" depends on Ultrabithorax expression in the 12A neurons, indicating variability is cell-intrinsic and under genetic control. 12A development is more variable and sensitive to temperature in long-established laboratory strains than in strains recently derived from the wild. Strains with a high frequency of one of the 12A variants also showed a high frequency of animals with delayed spontaneous flight initiation, whereas other wing-related behaviors did not show such a correlation and were thus not overtly affected by 12A variation. These results show that neurodevelopmental robustness is variable and under genetic control in Drosophila and suggest that the fly may serve as a model for identifying conserved gene pathways that stabilize wiring in stressful developmental environments. Moreover, some neuronal lineages are variation hotspots and thus may be more amenable to evolutionary change.

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    Truman LabFetter LabCardona Lab
    05/13/16 | The wiring diagram of a glomerular olfactory system.
    Berck ME, Khandelwal A, Claus L, Hernandez-Nunez L, Si G, Tabone CJ, Li F, Truman JW, Fetter RD, Louis M, Samuel AD, Cardona A
    eLife. 2016 May 13;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14859

    The sense of smell enables animals to react to long-distance cues according to learned and innate valences. Here, we have mapped with electron microscopy the complete wiring diagram of the Drosophila larval antennal lobe, an olfactory neuropil similar to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. We found a canonical circuit with uniglomerular projection neurons (uPNs) relaying gain-controlled ORN activity to the mushroom body and the lateral horn. A second, parallel circuit with multiglomerular projection neurons (mPNs) and hierarchically connected local neurons (LNs) selectively integrates multiple ORN signals already at the first synapse. LN-LN synaptic connections putatively implement a bistable gain control mechanism that either computes odor saliency through panglomerular inhibition, or allows some glomeruli to respond to faint aversive odors in the presence of strong appetitive odors. This complete wiring diagram will support experimental and theoretical studies towards bridging the gap between circuits and behavior.

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    Neurogenesis in Drosophila occurs in two phases, embryonic and post-embryonic, in which the same set of neuroblasts give rise to the distinct larval and adult nervous systems, respectively. Here, we identified the embryonic neuroblast origin of the adult neuronal lineages in the ventral nervous system via lineage-specific GAL4 lines and molecular markers. Our lineage mapping revealed that neurons born late in the embryonic phase show axonal morphology and transcription factor profiles that are similar to the neurons born post-embryonically from the same neuroblast. Moreover, we identified three thorax-specific neuroblasts not previously characterized and show that HOX genes confine them to the thoracic segments. Two of these, NB2-3 and NB3-4, generate leg motor neurons. The other neuroblast is novel and appears to have arisen recently during insect evolution. Our findings provide a comprehensive view of neurogenesis and show how proliferation of individual neuroblasts is dictated by temporal and spatial cues.

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    02/15/16 | Postembryonic lineages of the Drosophila ventral nervous system: Neuroglian expression reveals the adult hemilineage associated fiber tracts in the adult thoracic neuromeres.
    Shepherd D, Harris R, Williams D, Truman JW
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2016 Feb 15;524(13):2677-95. doi: 10.1002/cne.23988

    During larval life most of the thoracic neuroblasts (NBs) in Drosophila undergo a second phase of neurogenesis to generate adult-specific neurons that remain in an immature, developmentally stalled state until pupation. Using a combination of MARCM and immunostaining with a neurotactin antibody Truman et al. (2004) identified 24 adult specific NB lineages within each thoracic hemineuromere of the larval ventral nervous system (VNS) but because the neurotactin labeling of lineage tracts disappearing early in metamorphosis they were unable extend the identification of the these lineages into the adult. Here we show that immunostaining with an antibody against the cell adhesion molecule Neuroglian reveals the same larval secondary lineage projections through metamorphosis and by identifying each neuroglian positive tract at selected stages we have traced the larval hemilineage tracts for all three thoracic neuromeres through metamorphosis into the adult. To validate tract identifications we used the genetic toolkit developed by Harris et al. (2015) to preserve hemilineage specific GAL4 expression patterns from larval into the adult stage. The immortalized expression proved a powerful confirmation of the analysis of the neuroglian scaffold. This work has enabled us to directly link the secondary, larval NB lineages to their adult counterparts. The data provide an anatomical framework that 1) makes it possible to assign most neurons to their parent lineage and 2) allows more precise definitions of the neuronal organization of the adult VNS based in developmental units/rules. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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    Zlatic LabTruman Lab
    02/10/16 | Four individually identified paired dopamine neurons signal reward in larval Drosophila.
    Rohwedder A, Wenz NL, Stehle B, Huser A, Yamagata N, Zlatic M, Truman JW, Tanimoto H, Saumweber T, Gerber B, Thum AS
    Current Biology : CB. 2016 Feb 10:. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.012

    Dopaminergic neurons serve multiple functions, including reinforcement processing during associative learning [1-12]. It is thus warranted to understand which dopaminergic neurons mediate which function. We study larval Drosophila, in which only approximately 120 of a total of 10,000 neurons are dopaminergic, as judged by the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme of dopamine biosynthesis [5, 13]. Dopaminergic neurons mediating reinforcement in insect olfactory learning target the mushroom bodies, a higher-order "cortical" brain region [1-5, 11, 12, 14, 15]. We discover four previously undescribed paired neurons, the primary protocerebral anterior medial (pPAM) neurons. These neurons are TH positive and subdivide the medial lobe of the mushroom body into four distinct subunits. These pPAM neurons are acutely necessary for odor-sugar reward learning and require intact TH function in this process. However, they are dispensable for aversive learning and innate behavior toward the odors and sugars employed. Optogenetical activation of pPAM neurons is sufficient as a reward. Thus, the pPAM neurons convey a likely dopaminergic reward signal. In contrast, DL1 cluster neurons convey a corresponding punishment signal [5], suggesting a cellular division of labor to convey dopaminergic reward and punishment signals. On the level of individually identified neurons, this uncovers an organizational principle shared with adult Drosophila and mammals [1-4, 7, 9, 10] (but see [6]). The numerical simplicity and connectomic tractability of the larval nervous system [16-19] now offers a prospect for studying circuit principles of dopamine function at unprecedented resolution.

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    Cardona LabTruman LabFetter Lab
    10/21/15 | Even-Skipped(+) interneurons are core components of a sensorimotor circuit that maintains left-right symmetric muscle contraction amplitude.
    Heckscher ES, Zarin AA, Faumont S, Clark MQ, Manning L, Fushiki A, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Zwart MF, Landgraf M, Cardona A, Lockery SR, Doe CQ
    Neuron. 2015 Oct 21;88(2):314-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.009

    Bilaterally symmetric motor patterns-those in which left-right pairs of muscles contract synchronously and with equal amplitude (such as breathing, smiling, whisking, and locomotion)-are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the underlying neural circuits. We performed a thermogenetic screen to identify neurons required for bilaterally symmetric locomotion in Drosophila larvae and identified the evolutionarily conserved Even-skipped(+) interneurons (Eve/Evx). Activation or ablation of Eve(+) interneurons disrupted bilaterally symmetric muscle contraction amplitude, without affecting the timing of motor output. Eve(+) interneurons are not rhythmically active and thus function independently of the locomotor CPG. GCaMP6 calcium imaging of Eve(+) interneurons in freely moving larvae showed left-right asymmetric activation that correlated with larval behavior. TEM reconstruction of Eve(+) interneuron inputs and outputs showed that the Eve(+) interneurons are at the core of a sensorimotor circuit capable of detecting and modifying body wall muscle contraction.

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    10/19/15 | Drosophila Lgr3 couples organ growth with maturation and ensures developmental stability.
    Colombani J, Andersen DS, Boulan L, Boone E, Romero N, Virolle V, Texada M, Léopold P
    Current biology : CB. 2015 Oct 19;25(20):2723-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.020

    Early transplantation and grafting experiments suggest that body organs follow autonomous growth programs [1-3], therefore pointing to a need for coordination mechanisms to produce fit individuals with proper proportions. We recently identified Drosophila insulin-like peptide 8 (Dilp8) as a relaxin and insulin-like molecule secreted from growing tissues that plays a central role in coordinating growth between organs and coupling organ growth with animal maturation [4, 5]. Deciphering the function of Dilp8 in growth coordination relies on the identification of the receptor and tissues relaying Dilp8 signaling. We show here that the orphan receptor leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 3 (Lgr3), a member of the highly conserved family of relaxin family peptide receptors (RXFPs), mediates the checkpoint function of Dilp8 for entry into maturation. We functionally identify two Lgr3-positive neurons in each brain lobe that are required to induce a developmental delay upon overexpression of Dilp8. These neurons are located in the pars intercerebralis, an important neuroendocrine area in the brain, and make physical contacts with the PTTH neurons that ultimately control the production and release of the molting steroid ecdysone. Reducing Lgr3 levels in these neurons results in adult flies exhibiting increased fluctuating bilateral asymmetry, therefore recapitulating the phenotype of dilp8 mutants. Our work reveals a novel Dilp8/Lgr3 neuronal circuitry involved in a feedback mechanism that ensures coordination between organ growth and developmental transitions and prevents developmental variability.

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    07/20/15 | Neuron hemilineages provide the functional ground plan for the Drosophila ventral nervous system.
    Harris RM, Pfeiffer BD, Rubin GM, Truman JW
    eLife. 2015 Jul 20;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04493

    Drosophila central neurons arise from neuroblasts that generate neurons in a pair-wise fashion, with the two daughters providing the basis for distinct A and B hemilineage groups. Thirty three postembryonically-born hemilineages contribute over 90% of the neurons in each thoracic hemisegment. We devised genetic approaches to define the anatomy of most of these hemilineages and to assessed their functional roles using the heat-sensitive channel dTRPA1. The simplest hemilineages contained local interneurons and their activation caused tonic or phasic leg movements lacking interlimb coordination. The next level was hemilineages of similar projection cells that drove intersegmentally coordinated behaviors such as walking. The highest level involved hemilineages whose activation elicited complex behaviors such as takeoff. These activation phenotypes indicate that the hemilineages vary in their behavioral roles with some contributing to local networks for sensorimotor processing and others having higher order functions of coordinating these local networks into complex behavior.

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    05/28/15 | The nutrient-responsive hormone CCHamide-2 controls growth by regulating insulin-like peptides in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster.
    Sano H, Nakamura A, Texada MJ, Truman JW, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A, Nibu Y, Kume K, Ida T, Kojima M
    PLoS Genetics. 2015 May;11(5):e1005209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005209

    The coordination of growth with nutritional status is essential for proper development and physiology. Nutritional information is mostly perceived by peripheral organs before being relayed to the brain, which modulates physiological responses. Hormonal signaling ensures this organ-to-organ communication, and the failure of endocrine regulation in humans can cause diseases including obesity and diabetes. In Drosophila melanogaster, the fat body (adipose tissue) has been suggested to play an important role in coupling growth with nutritional status. Here, we show that the peripheral tissue-derived peptide hormone CCHamide-2 (CCHa2) acts as a nutrient-dependent regulator of Drosophila insulin-like peptides (Dilps). A BAC-based transgenic reporter revealed strong expression of CCHa2 receptor (CCHa2-R) in insulin-producing cells (IPCs) in the brain. Calcium imaging of brain explants and IPC-specific CCHa2-R knockdown demonstrated that peripheral-tissue derived CCHa2 directly activates IPCs. Interestingly, genetic disruption of either CCHa2 or CCHa2-R caused almost identical defects in larval growth and developmental timing. Consistent with these phenotypes, the expression of dilp5, and the release of both Dilp2 and Dilp5, were severely reduced. Furthermore, transcription of CCHa2 is altered in response to nutritional levels, particularly of glucose. These findings demonstrate that CCHa2 and CCHa2-R form a direct link between peripheral tissues and the brain, and that this pathway is essential for the coordination of systemic growth with nutritional availability. A mammalian homologue of CCHa2-R, Bombesin receptor subtype-3 (Brs3), is an orphan receptor that is expressed in the islet β-cells; however, the role of Brs3 in insulin regulation remains elusive. Our genetic approach in Drosophila melanogaster provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, that bombesin receptor signaling with its endogenous ligand promotes insulin production.

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