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2 Publications

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    08/24/10 | Walking modulates speed sensitivity in Drosophila motion vision.
    Chiappe ME, Seelig JD, Reiser MB, Jayaraman V
    Current Biology. 2010 Aug 24;20(16):1470-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.072

    Changes in behavioral state modify neural activity in many systems. In some vertebrates such modulation has been observed and interpreted in the context of attention and sensorimotor coordinate transformations. Here we report state-dependent activity modulations during walking in a visual-motor pathway of Drosophila. We used two-photon imaging to monitor intracellular calcium activity in motion-sensitive lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) in head-fixed Drosophila walking on an air-supported ball. Cells of the horizontal system (HS)–a subgroup of LPTCs–showed stronger calcium transients in response to visual motion when flies were walking rather than resting. The amplified responses were also correlated with walking speed. Moreover, HS neurons showed a relatively higher gain in response strength at higher temporal frequencies, and their optimum temporal frequency was shifted toward higher motion speeds. Walking-dependent modulation of HS neurons in the Drosophila visual system may constitute a mechanism to facilitate processing of higher image speeds in behavioral contexts where these speeds of visual motion are relevant for course stabilization.

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    07/01/10 | Two-photon calcium imaging from head-fixed Drosophila during optomotor walking behavior.
    Seelig JD, Chiappe ME, Lott GK, Dutta A, Osborne JE, Reiser MB, Jayaraman V
    Nature Methods. 2010 Jul;7:535-40. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1468

    Drosophila melanogaster is a model organism rich in genetic tools to manipulate and identify neural circuits involved in specific behaviors. Here we present a technique for two-photon calcium imaging in the central brain of head-fixed Drosophila walking on an air-supported ball. The ball’s motion is tracked at high resolution and can be treated as a proxy for the fly’s own movements. We used the genetically encoded calcium sensor, GCaMP3.0, to record from important elements of the motion-processing pathway, the horizontal-system lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) in the fly optic lobe. We presented motion stimuli to the tethered fly and found that calcium transients in horizontal-system neurons correlated with robust optomotor behavior during walking. Our technique allows both behavior and physiology in identified neurons to be monitored in a genetic model organism with an extensive repertoire of walking behaviors.

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