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136 Publications

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    05/14/05 | A dopamine-modulated neural circuit regulating aversive taste memory in Drosophila.
    Masek P, Worden K, Aso Y, Rubin GM, Keene AC
    Current Biology. 2015 May 14;25(11):1535-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.027

    Taste memories allow animals to modulate feeding behavior in accordance with past experience and avoid the consumption of potentially harmful food [1]. We have developed a single-fly taste memory assay to functionally interrogate the neural circuitry encoding taste memories [2]. Here, we screen a collection of Split-GAL4 lines that label small populations of neurons associated with the fly memory center-the mushroom bodies (MBs) [3]. Genetic silencing of PPL1 dopamine neurons disrupts conditioned, but not naive, feeding behavior, suggesting these neurons are selectively involved in the conditioned taste response. We identify two PPL1 subpopulations that innervate the MB α lobe and are essential for aversive taste memory. Thermogenetic activation of these dopamine neurons during training induces memory, indicating these neurons are sufficient for the reinforcing properties of bitter tastant to the MBs. Silencing of either the intrinsic MB neurons or the output neurons from the α lobe disrupts taste conditioning. Thermogenetic manipulation of these output neurons alters naive feeding response, suggesting that dopamine neurons modulate the threshold of response to appetitive tastants. Taken together, these findings detail a neural mechanism underlying the formation of taste memory and provide a functional model for dopamine-dependent plasticity in Drosophila.

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    05/11/15 | Optimized tools for multicolor stochastic labeling reveal diverse stereotyped cell arrangements in the fly visual system.
    Nern A, Pfeiffer BD, Rubin GM
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 May 11;112(22):E2967-76. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1506763112

    We describe the development and application of methods for high-throughput neuroanatomy in Drosophila using light microscopy. These tools enable efficient multicolor stochastic labeling of neurons at both low and high densities. Expression of multiple membrane-targeted and distinct epitope-tagged proteins is controlled both by a transcriptional driver and by stochastic, recombinase-mediated excision of transcription-terminating cassettes. This MultiColor FlpOut (MCFO) approach can be used to reveal cell shapes and relative cell positions and to track the progeny of precursor cells through development. Using two different recombinases, the number of cells labeled and the number of color combinations observed in those cells can be controlled separately. We demonstrate the utility of MCFO in a detailed study of diversity and variability of Distal medulla (Dm) neurons, multicolumnar local interneurons in the adult visual system. Similar to many brain regions, the medulla has a repetitive columnar structure that supports parallel information processing together with orthogonal layers of cell processes that enable communication between columns. We find that, within a medulla layer, processes of the cells of a given Dm neuron type form distinct patterns that reflect both the morphology of individual cells and the relative positions of their arbors. These stereotyped cell arrangements differ between cell types and can even differ for the processes of the same cell type in different medulla layers. This unexpected diversity of coverage patterns provides multiple independent ways of integrating visual information across the retinotopic columns and implies the existence of multiple developmental mechanisms that generate these distinct patterns.

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    05/01/15 | Neuroarchitecture and neuroanatomy of the Drosophila central complex: A GAL4-based dissection of protocerebral bridge neurons and circuits. (Front cover)
    Wolff T, Iyer NA, Rubin GM
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2015 May 1;523(7):Spc1 (Front Cover). doi: 10.1002/cne.23773

    Insects exhibit an elaborate repertoire of behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. The central complex plays a key role in combining various modalities of sensory information with an insect's internal state and past experience to select appropriate responses. Progress has been made in understanding the broad spectrum of outputs from the central complex neuropils and circuits involved in numerous behaviors. Many resident neurons have also been identified. However, the specific roles of these intricate structures and the functional connections between them remain largely obscure. Significant gains rely on obtaining a comprehensive catalog of the neurons and associated GAL4 lines that arborize within these brain regions, and on mapping neuronal pathways connecting these structures. To this end, small populations of neurons in the Drosophila melanogaster central complex were stochastically labeled using the multicolor flip-out technique and a catalog was created of the neurons, their morphologies, trajectories, relative arrangements, and corresponding GAL4 lines. This report focuses on one structure of the central complex, the protocerebral bridge, and identifies just 17 morphologically distinct cell types that arborize in this structure. This work also provides new insights into the anatomical structure of the four components of the central complex and its accessory neuropils. Most strikingly, we found that the protocerebral bridge contains 18 glomeruli, not 16, as previously believed. Revised wiring diagrams that take into account this updated architectural design are presented. This updated map of the Drosophila central complex will facilitate a deeper behavioral and physiological dissection of this sophisticated set of structures. J. Comp. Neurol. 523:997-1037, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    04/27/15 | High-performance probes for light and electron microscopy.
    Viswanathan S, Williams ME, Bloss EB, Stasevich TJ, Speer CM, Nern A, Pfeiffer BD, Hooks BM, Li W, English BP, Tian T, Henry GL, Macklin JJ, Patel R, Gerfen CR, Zhuang X, Wang Y, Rubin GM, Looger LL
    Nature Methods. 2015 Apr 27;12(6):568-76. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3365

    We describe an engineered family of highly antigenic molecules based on GFP-like fluorescent proteins. These molecules contain numerous copies of peptide epitopes and simultaneously bind IgG antibodies at each location. These 'spaghetti monster' fluorescent proteins (smFPs) distributed well in neurons, notably into small dendrites, spines and axons. smFP immunolabeling localized weakly expressed proteins not well resolved with traditional epitope tags. By varying epitope and scaffold, we generated a diverse family of mutually orthogonal antigens. In cultured neurons and mouse and fly brains, smFP probes allowed robust, orthogonal multicolor visualization of proteins, cell populations and neuropil. smFP variants complement existing tracers and greatly increase the number of simultaneous imaging channels, and they performed well in advanced preparations such as array tomography, super-resolution fluorescence imaging and electron microscopy. In living cells, the probes improved single-molecule image tracking and increased yield for RNA-seq. These probes facilitate new experiments in connectomics, transcriptomics and protein localization.

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    03/01/15 | An enhanced gene targeting toolkit for Drosophila: golic+.
    Chen H, Huang Y, Pfeiffer BD, Yao X, Lee T
    Genetics. 2015 Mar;199(3):683-94. doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.173716

    Ends-out gene targeting allows seamless replacement of endogenous genes with engineered DNA fragments by homologous recombination, thus creating designer "genes" in the endogenous locus. Conventional gene targeting in Drosophila involves targeting with the preintegrated donor DNA in the larval primordial germ cells. Here we report G: ene targeting during O: ogenesis with L: ethality I: nhibitor and C: RISPR/Cas (Golic+), which improves on all major steps in such transgene-based gene targeting systems. First, donor DNA is integrated into precharacterized attP sites for efficient flip-out. Second, FLP, I-SceI, and Cas9 are specifically expressed in cystoblasts, which arise continuously from female germline stem cells, thereby providing a continual source of independent targeting events in each offspring. Third, a repressor-based lethality selection is implemented to facilitate screening for correct targeting events. Altogether, Golic+ realizes high-efficiency ends-out gene targeting in ovarian cystoblasts, which can be readily scaled up to achieve high-throughput genome editing.

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    03/01/15 | The Release 6 reference sequence of the Drosophila melanogaster genome.
    Hoskins RA, Carlson JW, Wan KH, Park S, Mendez I, Galle SE, Booth BW, Pfeiffer BD, George RA, Svirskas R, Krzywinski M, Schein J, Accardo MC, Damia E, Messina G, Mendez-Lago M, de Pablos B, Demakova OV, Andreyeva EN, Boldyreva LV, Marra M, Carvalho AB, Dimitri P, Villasante A, Zhimulev IF, Rubin GM, Karpen GH, Celniker SE
    Genome Research. 2015 Mar;25(3):445-58. doi: 10.1101/gr.185579.114

    Drosophila melanogaster plays an important role in molecular, genetic, and genomic studies of heredity, development, metabolism, behavior, and human disease. The initial reference genome sequence reported more than a decade ago had a profound impact on progress in Drosophila research, and improving the accuracy and completeness of this sequence continues to be important to further progress. We previously described improvement of the 117-Mb sequence in the euchromatic portion of the genome and 21 Mb in the heterochromatic portion, using a whole-genome shotgun assembly, BAC physical mapping, and clone-based finishing. Here, we report an improved reference sequence of the single-copy and middle-repetitive regions of the genome, produced using cytogenetic mapping to mitotic and polytene chromosomes, clone-based finishing and BAC fingerprint verification, ordering of scaffolds by alignment to cDNA sequences, incorporation of other map and sequence data, and validation by whole-genome optical restriction mapping. These data substantially improve the accuracy and completeness of the reference sequence and the order and orientation of sequence scaffolds into chromosome arm assemblies. Representation of the Y chromosome and other heterochromatic regions is particularly improved. The new 143.9-Mb reference sequence, designated Release 6, effectively exhausts clone-based technologies for mapping and sequencing. Highly repeat-rich regions, including large satellite blocks and functional elements such as the ribosomal RNA genes and the centromeres, are largely inaccessible to current sequencing and assembly methods and remain poorly represented. Further significant improvements will require sequencing technologies that do not depend on molecular cloning and that produce very long reads.

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    01/13/15 | Distinct dopamine neurons mediate reward signals for short- and long-term memories.
    Yamagata N, Ichinose T, Aso Y, Placais P, Friedrich AB, Sima RJ, Preat T, Rubin GM, Tanimoto H
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 Jan 13;112(2):578-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421930112

    Drosophila melanogaster can acquire a stable appetitive olfactory memory when the presentation of a sugar reward and an odor are paired. However, the neuronal mechanisms by which a single training induces long-term memory are poorly understood. Here we show that two distinct subsets of dopamine neurons in the fly brain signal reward for short-term (STM) and long-term memories (LTM). One subset induces memory that decays within several hours, whereas the other induces memory that gradually develops after training. They convey reward signals to spatially segregated synaptic domains of the mushroom body (MB), a potential site for convergence. Furthermore, we identified a single type of dopamine neuron that conveys the reward signal to restricted subdomains of the mushroom body lobes and induces long-term memory. Constant appetitive memory retention after a single training session thus comprises two memory components triggered by distinct dopamine neurons.

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    12/23/14 | Mushroom body output neurons encode valence and guide memory-based action selection in Drosophila.
    Aso Y, Sitaraman D, Ichinose T, Kaun KR, Vogt K, Belliart-Guérin G, Placais P, Robie AA, Yamagata N, Schnaitmann C, Rowell WJ, Johnston RM, Ngo TB, Chen N, Korff W, Nitabach MN, Heberlein U, Preat T, Branson KM, Tanimoto H, Rubin GM
    eLife. 12/2014;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04580

    Animals discriminate stimuli, learn their predictive value and use this knowledge to modify their behavior. In Drosophila, the mushroom body (MB) plays a key role in these processes. Sensory stimuli are sparsely represented by ∼2000 Kenyon cells, which converge onto 34 output neurons (MBONs) of 21 types. We studied the role of MBONs in several associative learning tasks and in sleep regulation, revealing the extent to which information flow is segregated into distinct channels and suggesting possible roles for the multi-layered MBON network. We also show that optogenetic activation of MBONs can, depending on cell type, induce repulsion or attraction in flies. The behavioral effects of MBON perturbation are combinatorial, suggesting that the MBON ensemble collectively represents valence. We propose that local, stimulus-specific dopaminergic modulation selectively alters the balance within the MBON network for those stimuli. Our results suggest that valence encoded by the MBON ensemble biases memory-based action selection.

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    12/23/14 | The neuronal architecture of the mushroom body provides a logic for associative learning.
    Aso Y, Hattori D, Yu Y, Johnston RM, Iyer NA, Ngo T, Dionne H, Abbott L, Axel R, Tanimoto H, Rubin GM
    eLife. 2014 Dec 23;3:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04577

    We identified the neurons comprising the Drosophila mushroom body (MB), an associative center in invertebrate brains, and provide a comprehensive map describing their potential connections. Each of the 21 MB output neuron (MBON) types elaborates segregated dendritic arbors along the parallel axons of ∼2000 Kenyon cells, forming 15 compartments that collectively tile the MB lobes. MBON axons project to five discrete neuropils outside of the MB and three MBON types form a feedforward network in the lobes. Each of the 20 dopaminergic neuron (DAN) types projects axons to one, or at most two, of the MBON compartments. Convergence of DAN axons on compartmentalized Kenyon cell-MBON synapses creates a highly ordered unit that can support learning to impose valence on sensory representations. The elucidation of the complement of neurons of the MB provides a comprehensive anatomical substrate from which one can infer a functional logic of associative olfactory learning and memory.

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    08/19/14 | Shared mushroom body circuits underlie visual and olfactory memories in Drosophila.
    Vogt K, Schnaitmann C, Dylla KV, Knapek S, Aso Y, Rubin GM, Tanimoto H
    eLife. 2014;3:e02395. doi: 10.7554/eLife.02395

    In nature, animals form memories associating reward or punishment with stimuli from different sensory modalities, such as smells and colors. It is unclear, however, how distinct sensory memories are processed in the brain. We established appetitive and aversive visual learning assays for Drosophila that are comparable to the widely used olfactory learning assays. These assays share critical features, such as reinforcing stimuli (sugar reward and electric shock punishment), and allow direct comparison of the cellular requirements for visual and olfactory memories. We found that the same subsets of dopamine neurons drive formation of both sensory memories. Furthermore, distinct yet partially overlapping subsets of mushroom body intrinsic neurons are required for visual and olfactory memories. Thus, our results suggest that distinct sensory memories are processed in a common brain center. Such centralization of related brain functions is an economical design that avoids the repetition of similar circuit motifs.

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