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87 Publications

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    05/06/15 | Role of the subesophageal zone in sensorimotor control of orientation in Drosophila larva.
    Tastekin I, Riedl J, Schilling-Kurz V, Gomez-Marin A, Truman JW, Louis M
    Current Biology. 2015 May 6;25(11):1448-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.016

    Chemotaxis is a powerful paradigm to investigate how nervous systems represent and integrate changes in sensory signals to direct navigational decisions. In the Drosophila melanogaster larva, chemotaxis mainly consists of an alternation of distinct behavioral modes: runs and directed turns. During locomotion, turns are triggered by the integration of temporal changes in the intensity of the stimulus. Upon completion of a turning maneuver, the direction of motion is typically realigned toward the odor gradient. While the anatomy of the peripheral olfactory circuits and the locomotor system of the larva are reasonably well documented, the neural circuits connecting the sensory neurons to the motor neurons remain unknown. We combined a loss-of-function behavioral screen with optogenetics-based clonal gain-of-function manipulations to identify neurons that are necessary and sufficient for the initiation of reorientation maneuvers in odor gradients. Our results indicate that a small subset of neurons residing in the subesophageal zone controls the rate of transition from runs to turns-a premotor function compatible with previous observations made in other invertebrates. After having shown that this function pertains to the processing of inputs from different sensory modalities (olfaction, vision, thermosensation), we conclude that the subesophageal zone operates as a general premotor center that regulates the selection of different behavioral programs based on the integration of sensory stimuli. The present analysis paves the way for a systematic investigation of the neural computations underlying action selection in a miniature brain amenable to genetic manipulations.

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    Zlatic LabFetter LabBranson LabSimpson LabTruman LabCardona LabFlyEM
    04/20/15 | A multilevel multimodal circuit enhances action selection in Drosophila.
    Ohyama T, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Aleman JV, Franconville R, Rivera-Alba M, Mensh BD, Branson KM, Simpson JH, Truman JW, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    Nature. 2015 Apr 20;520(7549):633-9. doi: 10.1038/nature14297

    Natural events present multiple types of sensory cues, each detected by a specialized sensory modality. Combining information from several modalities is essential for the selection of appropriate actions. Key to understanding multimodal computations is determining the structural patterns of multimodal convergence and how these patterns contribute to behaviour. Modalities could converge early, late or at multiple levels in the sensory processing hierarchy. Here we show that combining mechanosensory and nociceptive cues synergistically enhances the selection of the fastest mode of escape locomotion in Drosophila larvae. In an electron microscopy volume that spans the entire insect nervous system, we reconstructed the multisensory circuit supporting the synergy, spanning multiple levels of the sensory processing hierarchy. The wiring diagram revealed a complex multilevel multimodal convergence architecture. Using behavioural and physiological studies, we identified functionally connected circuit nodes that trigger the fastest locomotor mode, and others that facilitate it, and we provide evidence that multiple levels of multimodal integration contribute to escape mode selection. We propose that the multilevel multimodal convergence architecture may be a general feature of multisensory circuits enabling complex input–output functions and selective tuning to ecologically relevant combinations of cues.

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    08/07/14 | A GAL4 driver resource for developmental and behavioral studies on the larval CNS of Drosophila.
    Li H, Kroll JR, Lennox SM, Ogundeyi O, Jeter J, Depasquale G, Truman JW
    Cell Reports. 2014 Aug 7;8(3):897-908. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.06.065

    We report the larval CNS expression patterns for 6,650 GAL4 lines based on cis-regulatory regions (CRMs) from the Drosophila genome. Adult CNS expression patterns were previously reported for this collection, thereby providing a unique resource for determining the origins of adult cells. An illustrative example reveals the origin of the astrocyte-like glia of the ventral CNS. Besides larval neurons and glia, the larval CNS contains scattered lineages of immature, adult-specific neurons. Comparison of lineage expression within this large collection of CRMs provides insight into the codes used for designating neuronal types. The CRMs encode both dense and sparse patterns of lineage expression. There is little correlation between brain and thoracic lineages in patterns of sparse expression, but expression in the two regions is highly correlated in the dense mode. The optic lobes, by comparison, appear to use a different set of genetic instructions in their development.

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    11/14/13 | Motor control of Drosophila courtship song.
    Shirangi TR, Stern DL, Truman JW
    Cell Reports. 2013 Nov 14;5:678-86. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.09.039

    Many animals utilize acoustic signals-or songs-to attract mates. During courtship, Drosophila melanogaster males vibrate a wing to produce trains of pulses and extended tone, called pulse and sine song, respectively. Courtship songs in the genus Drosophila are exceedingly diverse, and different song features appear to have evolved independently of each other. How the nervous system allows such diversity to evolve is not understood. Here, we identify a wing muscle in D. melanogaster (hg1) that is uniquely male-enlarged. The hg1 motoneuron and the sexually dimorphic development of the hg1 muscle are required specifically for the sine component of the male song. In contrast, the motoneuron innervating a sexually monomorphic wing muscle, ps1, is required specifically for a feature of pulse song. Thus, individual wing motor pathways can control separate aspects of courtship song and may provide a "modular" anatomical substrate for the evolution of diverse songs.

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    09/19/13 | Extremes of lineage plasticity in the Drosophila brain.
    Lin S, Marin EC, Yang C, Kao C, Apenteng BA, Huang Y, O’Connor MB, Truman JW, Lee T
    Current Biology. 2013 Sep 19;23(19):1908-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.074

    An often-overlooked aspect of neural plasticity is the plasticity of neuronal composition, in which the numbers of neurons of particular classes are altered in response to environment and experience. The Drosophila brain features several well-characterized lineages in which a single neuroblast gives rise to multiple neuronal classes in a stereotyped sequence during development [1]. We find that in the intrinsic mushroom body neuron lineage, the numbers for each class are highly plastic, depending on the timing of temporal fate transitions and the rate of neuroblast proliferation. For example, mushroom body neuroblast cycling can continue under starvation conditions, uncoupled from temporal fate transitions that depend on extrinsic cues reflecting organismal growth and development. In contrast, the proliferation rates of antennal lobe lineages are closely associated with organismal development, and their temporal fate changes appear to be cell cycle-dependent, such that the same numbers and types of uniglomerular projection neurons innervate the antennal lobe following various perturbations. We propose that this surprising difference in plasticity for these brain lineages is adaptive, given their respective roles as parallel processors versus discrete carriers of olfactory information.

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    Riddiford LabTruman Lab
    07/30/13 | A molt timer is involved in the metamorphic molt in Manduca sexta larvae.
    Suzuki Y, Koyama T, Hiruma K, Riddiford LM, Truman JW
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Jul 30;110(31):12518-25. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1311405110

    Manduca sexta larvae are a model for growth control in insects, particularly for the demonstration of critical weight, a threshold weight that the larva must surpass before it can enter metamorphosis on a normal schedule, and the inhibitory action of juvenile hormone on this checkpoint. We examined the effects of nutrition on allatectomized (CAX) larvae that lack juvenile hormone to impose the critical weight checkpoint. Normal larvae respond to prolonged starvation at the start of the last larval stage, by extending their subsequent feeding period to ensure that they begin metamorphosis above critical weight. CAX larvae, by contrast, show no homeostatic adjustment to starvation but start metamorphosis 4 d after feeding onset, regardless of larval size or the state of development of their imaginal discs. By feeding starved CAX larvae for various durations, we found that feeding for only 12-24 h was sufficient to result in metamorphosis on day 4, regardless of further feeding or body size. Manipulation of diet composition showed that protein was the critical macronutrient to initiate this timing. This constant period between the start of feeding and the onset of metamorphosis suggests that larvae possess a molt timer that establishes a minimal time to metamorphosis. Ligation experiments indicate that a portion of the timing may occur in the prothoracic glands. This positive system that promotes molting and the negative control via the critical weight checkpoint provide antagonistic pathways that evolution can modify to adapt growth to the ecological needs of different insects.

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    09/11/12 | Ultrabithorax confers spatial identity in a context-specific manner in the Drosophila postembryonic ventral nervous system.
    Marin EC, Dry KE, Alaimo DR, Rudd KT, Cillo AR, Clenshaw ME, Negre N, White KP, Truman JW
    Neural Development. 2012 Sep 11;7:31. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-7-31

    BACKGROUND: In holometabolous insects such as Drosophila melanogaster, neuroblasts produce an initial population of diverse neurons during embryogenesis and a much larger set of adult-specific neurons during larval life. In the ventral CNS, many of these secondary neuronal lineages differ significantly from one body segment to another, suggesting a role for anteroposterior patterning genes. RESULTS: Here we systematically characterize the expression pattern and function of the Hox gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) in all 25 postembryonic lineages. We find that Ubx is expressed in a segment-, lineage-, and hemilineage-specific manner in the thoracic and anterior abdominal segments. When Ubx is removed from neuroblasts via mitotic recombination, neurons in these segments exhibit the morphologies and survival patterns of their anterior thoracic counterparts. Conversely, when Ubx is ectopically expressed in anterior thoracic segments, neurons exhibit complementary posterior transformation phenotypes. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate that Ubx plays a critical role in conferring segment-appropriate morphology and survival on individual neurons in the adult-specific ventral CNS. Moreover, while always conferring spatial identity in some sense, Ubx has been co-opted during evolution for distinct and even opposite functions in different neuronal hemilineages.

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    05/29/12 | Transvection is common throughout the Drosophila genome.
    Mellert DJ, Truman JW
    Genetics. 2012 May 29;191(4):1129-41. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.140475

    Higher-order genome organization plays an important role in transcriptional regulation. In Drosophila, somatic pairing of homologous chromosomes can lead to transvection, by which the regulatory region of a gene can influence transcription in trans. We observe transvection between transgenes inserted at commonly used phiC31 integration sites in the Drosophila genome. When two transgenes that carry endogenous regulatory elements driving the expression of either LexA or GAL4 are inserted at the same integration site and paired, the enhancer of one transgene can drive or repress expression of the paired transgene. These transvection effects depend on compatibility between regulatory elements and are often restricted to a subset of cell types within a given expression pattern. We further show that activated UAS-transgenes can also drive transcription in trans. We discuss the implication of these findings for 1) understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie transvection and 2) the design of experiments that utilize site-specific integration.

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    04/09/12 | Using translational enhancers to increase transgene expression in Drosophila.
    Pfeiffer BD, Truman JW, Rubin GM
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 Apr 9;109(17):6626-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204520109

    The ability to specify the expression levels of exogenous genes inserted in the genomes of transgenic animals is critical for the success of a wide variety of experimental manipulations. Protein production can be regulated at the level of transcription, mRNA transport, mRNA half-life, or translation efficiency. In this report, we show that several well-characterized sequence elements derived from plant and insect viruses are able to function in Drosophila to increase the apparent translational efficiency of mRNAs by as much as 20-fold. These increases render expression levels sufficient for genetic constructs previously requiring multiple copies to be effective in single copy, including constructs expressing the temperature-sensitive inactivator of neuronal function Shibire(ts1), and for the use of cytoplasmic GFP to image the fine processes of neurons.

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    12/12/11 | The BTB/POZ zinc finger protein Broad-Z3 promotes dendritic outgrowth during metamorphic remodeling of the peripheral stretch receptor dbd.
    Scott JA, Williams DW, Truman JW
    Neural Development. 2011 Dec 12;6:39. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-6-39

    Various members of the family of BTB/POZ zinc-finger transcription factors influence patterns of dendritic branching. One such member, Broad, is notable because its BrZ3 isoform is widely expressed in Drosophila in immature neurons around the time of arbor outgrowth. We used the metamorphic remodeling of an identified sensory neuron, the dorsal bipolar dendrite sensory neuron (dbd), to examine the effects of BrZ3 expression on the extent and pattern of dendrite growth during metamorphosis.

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