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66 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 66 results
08/09/17 | The complete connectome of a learning and memory centre in an insect brain.
Eichler K, Li F, Litwin-Kumar A, Park Y, Andrade I, Schneider-Mizell CM, Saumweber T, Huser A, Eschbach C, Gerber B, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Priebe CE, Abbott LF, Thum AS, Zlatic M, Cardona A
Nature. 2017 Aug 09;548(7666):175-182. doi: 10.1038/nature23455

Associating stimuli with positive or negative reinforcement is essential for survival, but a complete wiring diagram of a higher-order circuit supporting associative memory has not been previously available. Here we reconstruct one such circuit at synaptic resolution, the Drosophila larval mushroom body. We find that most Kenyon cells integrate random combinations of inputs but that a subset receives stereotyped inputs from single projection neurons. This organization maximizes performance of a model output neuron on a stimulus discrimination task. We also report a novel canonical circuit in each mushroom body compartment with previously unidentified connections: reciprocal Kenyon cell to modulatory neuron connections, modulatory neuron to output neuron connections, and a surprisingly high number of recurrent connections between Kenyon cells. Stereotyped connections found between output neurons could enhance the selection of learned behaviours. The complete circuit map of the mushroom body should guide future functional studies of this learning and memory centre.

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07/01/17 | The Ol1mpiad: concordance of behavioural faculties of stage 1 and stage 3 Drosophila larvae.
Almeida-Carvalho MJ, Berh D, Braun A, Chen Y, Eichler K, Eschbach C, Fritsch PM, Gerber B, Hoyer N, Jiang X, Kleber J, Klämbt C, König C, Louis M, Michels B, Miroschnikow A, Mirth C, Miura D, Niewalda T, Otto N, Paisios E, Pankratz MJ, Petersen M, Ramsperger N, Randel N, Risse B, Saumweber T, Schlegel P, Schleyer M, Soba P, Sprecher SG, Tanimura T, Thum AS, Toshima N, Truman JW, Yarali A, Zlatic M
The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2017 Jul 01;220(Pt 13):2452-2475. doi: 10.1242/jeb.156646

Mapping brain function to brain structure is a fundamental task for neuroscience. For such an endeavour, the Drosophila larva is simple enough to be tractable, yet complex enough to be interesting. It features about 10,000 neurons and is capable of various taxes, kineses and Pavlovian conditioning. All its neurons are currently being mapped into a light-microscopical atlas, and Gal4 strains are being generated to experimentally access neurons one at a time. In addition, an electron microscopic reconstruction of its nervous system seems within reach. Notably, this electron microscope-based connectome is being drafted for a stage 1 larva - because stage 1 larvae are much smaller than stage 3 larvae. However, most behaviour analyses have been performed for stage 3 larvae because their larger size makes them easier to handle and observe. It is therefore warranted to either redo the electron microscopic reconstruction for a stage 3 larva or to survey the behavioural faculties of stage 1 larvae. We provide the latter. In a community-based approach we called the Ol1mpiad, we probed stage 1 Drosophila larvae for free locomotion, feeding, responsiveness to substrate vibration, gentle and nociceptive touch, burrowing, olfactory preference and thermotaxis, light avoidance, gustatory choice of various tastants plus odour-taste associative learning, as well as light/dark-electric shock associative learning. Quantitatively, stage 1 larvae show lower scores in most tasks, arguably because of their smaller size and lower speed. Qualitatively, however, stage 1 larvae perform strikingly similar to stage 3 larvae in almost all cases. These results bolster confidence in mapping brain structure and behaviour across developmental stages.

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Truman LabRiddiford Lab
05/18/17 | Genetic tools to study juvenile hormone action in Drosophila.
Baumann AA, Texada MJ, Chen H, Etheredge JN, Miller DL, Picard S, Warner RD, Truman JW, Riddiford LM
Scientific Reports. 2017 May 18;7:2132. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-02264-4

The insect juvenile hormone receptor is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH), Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain protein, a novel type of hormone receptor. In higher flies like Drosophila, the ancestral receptor germ cell-expressed (gce) gene has duplicated to yield the paralog Methoprene-tolerant (Met). These paralogous receptors share redundant function during development but play unique roles in adults. Some aspects of JH function apparently require one receptor or the other. To provide a foundation for studying JH receptor function, we have recapitulated endogenous JH receptor expression with single cell resolution. Using Bacteria Artificial Chromosome (BAC) recombineering and a transgenic knock-in, we have generated a spatiotemporal expressional atlas of Metand gce throughout development. We demonstrate JH receptor expression in known JH target tissues, in which temporal expression corresponds with periods of hormone sensitivity. Larval expression largely supports the notion of functional redundancy. Furthermore, we provide the neuroanatomical distribution of JH receptors in both the larval and adult central nervous system, which will serve as a platform for future studies regarding JH action on insect behavior.

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04/26/17 | A systematic nomenclature for the Drosophila ventral nervous system.
Court RC, Armstrong JD, Borner J, Card GM, Costa M, Dickinson MH, Duch C, Korff W, Mann RS, Merritt D, Murphey RK, Namiki S, Seeds AM, Shepherd D, Shirangi TR, Simpson JH, Truman JW, Tuthill JC, Williams DW
bioRxiv. 2017 Apr 26:. doi: 10.1101/122952

Insect nervous systems are proven and powerful model systems for neuroscience research with wide relevance in biology and medicine. However, descriptions of insect brains have suffered from a lack of a complete and uniform nomenclature. Recognising this problem the Insect Brain Name Working Group produced the first agreed hierarchical nomenclature system for the adult insect brain, using Drosophila melanogaster as the reference framework, with other insect taxa considered to ensure greater consistency and expandability (Ito et al., 2014). Ito et al. (2014) purposely focused on the gnathal regions that account for approximately 50% of the adult CNS. We extend this nomenclature system to the sub-gnathal regions of the adult Drosophila nervous system to provide a nomenclature of the so-called ventral nervous system (VNS), which includes the thoracic and abdominal neuromeres that was not included in the original work and contains the neurons that play critical roles underpinning most fly behaviours.

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11/15/16 | Synaptic transmission parallels neuromodulation in a central food-intake circuit.
Schlegel P, Texada MJ, Miroschnikow A, Schoofs A, Hückesfeld S, Peters M, Schneider-Mizell CM, Lacin H, Li F, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Cardona A, Pankratz MJ
eLife. 2016 Nov 15:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.16799

NeuromedinU is a potent regulator of food intake and activity in mammals. In Drosophila, neurons producing the homologous neuropeptide hugin regulate feeding and locomotion in a similar manner. Here, we use EM-based reconstruction to generate the entire connectome of hugin-producing neurons in the Drosophila larval CNS. We demonstrate that hugin neurons use synaptic transmission in addition to peptidergic neuromodulation and identify acetylcholine as a key transmitter. Hugin neuropeptide and acetylcholine are both necessary for the regulatory effect on feeding. We further show that subtypes of hugin neurons connect chemosensory to endocrine system by combinations of synaptic and peptide-receptor connections. Targets include endocrine neurons producing DH44, a CRH-like peptide, and insulin-like peptides. Homologs of these peptides are likewise downstream of neuromedinU, revealing striking parallels in flies and mammals. We propose that hugin neurons are part of an ancient physiological control system that has been conserved at functional and molecular level.

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10/05/16 | Competitive disinhibition mediates behavioral choice and sequences in Drosophila.
Jovanic T, Schneider-Mizell CM, Shao M, Masson J, Denisov G, Fetter RD, Mensh BD, Truman JW, Cardona A, Zlatic M
Cell. 2016 Oct 5;167(3):858-70. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.009

Even a simple sensory stimulus can elicit distinct innate behaviors and sequences. During sensorimotor decisions, competitive interactions among neurons that promote distinct behaviors must ensure the selection and maintenance of one behavior, while suppressing others. The circuit implementation of these competitive interactions is still an open question. By combining comprehensive electron microscopy reconstruction of inhibitory interneuron networks, modeling, electrophysiology, and behavioral studies, we determined the circuit mechanisms that contribute to the Drosophila larval sensorimotor decision to startle, explore, or perform a sequence of the two in response to a mechanosensory stimulus. Together, these studies reveal that, early in sensory processing, (1) reciprocally connected feedforward inhibitory interneurons implement behavioral choice, (2) local feedback disinhibition provides positive feedback that consolidates and maintains the chosen behavior, and (3) lateral disinhibition promotes sequence transitions. The combination of these interconnected circuit motifs can implement both behavior selection and the serial organization of behaviors into a sequence.

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08/05/16 | Drosophila larval to pupal switch under nutrient stress requires IP3R/Ca(2+) signalling in glutamatergic interneurons.
Jayakumar S, Richhariya S, Reddy OV, Texada MJ, Hasan G
eLife. 2016 Aug 5;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.17495

Neuronal circuits are known to integrate nutritional information, but the identity of the circuit components is not completely understood. Amino acids are a class of nutrients that are vital for the growth and function of an organism. Here, we report a neuronal circuit that allows Drosophila larvae to overcome amino acid deprivation and pupariate. We find that nutrient stress is sensed by the class IV multidendritic cholinergic neurons. Through live calcium imaging experiments, we show that these cholinergic stimuli are conveyed to glutamatergic neurons in the ventral ganglion through mAChR. We further show that IP3R-dependent calcium transients in the glutamatergic neurons convey this signal to downstream medial neurosecretory cells (mNSCs). The circuit ultimately converges at the ring gland and regulates expression of ecdysteroid biosynthetic genes. Activity in this circuit is thus likely to be an adaptation that provides a layer of regulation to help surpass nutritional stress during development.

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07/29/16 | Identification of excitatory premotor interneurons which regulate local muscle contraction during Drosophila larval locomotion.
Hasegawa E, Truman JW, Nose A
Scientific Reports. 2016;6:30806. doi: 10.1038/srep30806

We use Drosophila larval locomotion as a model to elucidate the working principles of motor circuits. Larval locomotion is generated by rhythmic and sequential contractions of body-wall muscles from the posterior to anterior segments, which in turn are regulated by motor neurons present in the corresponding neuromeres. Motor neurons are known to receive both excitatory and inhibitory inputs, combined action of which likely regulates patterned motor activity during locomotion. Although recent studies identified candidate inhibitory premotor interneurons, the identity of premotor interneurons that provide excitatory drive to motor neurons during locomotion remains unknown. In this study, we searched for and identified two putative excitatory premotor interneurons in this system, termed CLI1 and CLI2 (cholinergic lateral interneuron 1 and 2). These neurons were segmentally arrayed and activated sequentially from the posterior to anterior segments during peristalsis. Consistent with their being excitatory premotor interneurons, the CLIs formed GRASP- and ChAT-positive putative synapses with motoneurons and were active just prior to motoneuronal firing in each segment. Moreover, local activation of CLI1s induced contraction of muscles in the corresponding body segments. Taken together, our results suggest that the CLIs directly activate motoneurons sequentially along the segments during larval locomotion.

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07/12/16 | Selective inhibition mediates the sequential recruitment of motor pools.
Zwart MF, Pulver SR, Truman JW, Fushiki A, Cardona A, Landgraf M
Neuron. 2016 Jul 12;91(3):615-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.031

Locomotor systems generate diverse motor patterns to produce the movements underlying behavior, requiring that motor neurons be recruited at various phases of the locomotor cycle. Reciprocal inhibition produces alternating motor patterns; however, the mechanisms that generate other phasic relationships between intrasegmental motor pools are unknown. Here, we investigate one such motor pattern in the Drosophila larva, using a multidisciplinary approach including electrophysiology and ssTEM-based circuit reconstruction. We find that two motor pools that are sequentially recruited during locomotion have identical excitable properties. In contrast, they receive input from divergent premotor circuits. We find that this motor pattern is not orchestrated by differential excitatory input but by a GABAergic interneuron acting as a delay line to the later-recruited motor pool. Our findings show how a motor pattern is generated as a function of the modular organization of locomotor networks through segregation of inhibition, a potentially general mechanism for sequential motor patterns.

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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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