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Zlatic Lab / Publications
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21 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 21 results
01/08/18 | Neural substrates of navigational decision-making in Drosophila larva anemotaxis.
Jovanic T, Truman JW, Gershow M, Zlatic M
bioRxiv. 2018 Jan 08:244608. doi: 10.1101/244608

Small animals navigate in the environment as a function of varying sensory information in order to reach more favorable environmental conditions. To achieve this Drosophila larvae alternate periods of runs and turns in gradients of light, temperature, odors and CO2. While the sensory neurons that mediate the navigation behaviors in the different sensory gradients have been described, where and how are these navigational strategies are implemented in the central nervous system and controlled by neuronal circuit elements is not well known. Here we characterize for the first time the navigational strategies of Drosophila larvae in gradients of air-current speeds using high-throughput behavioral assays and quantitative behavioral analysis. We find that larvae extend runs when facing favorable conditions and increase turn rate when facing unfavorable direction, a strategy they use in other sensory modalities as well. By silencing the activity of individual neurons and very sparse expression patterns (2 or 3 neuron types), we further identify the sensory neurons and circuit elements in the ventral nerve cord and brain of the larva required for navigational decisions during anemotaxis. The phenotypes of these central neurons are consistent with a mechanism where the increase of the turning rate in unfavorable conditions and decrease in turning rate in favorable conditions are independently controlled.

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12/20/17 | Divergent connectivity of homologous command-like neurons mediates segment-specific touch responses in Drosophila.
Takagi S, Cocanougher BT, Niki S, Miyamoto D, Kohsaka H, Kazama H, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Zlatic M, Cardona A, Nose A
Neuron. 2017 Dec 20;96(6):1373-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.10.030

Animals adaptively respond to a tactile stimulus by choosing an ethologically relevant behavior depending on the location of the stimuli. Here, we investigate how somatosensory inputs on different body segments are linked to distinct motor outputs in Drosophila larvae. Larvae escape by backward locomotion when touched on the head, while they crawl forward when touched on the tail. We identify a class of segmentally repeated second-order somatosensory interneurons, that we named Wave, whose activation in anterior and posterior segments elicit backward and forward locomotion, respectively. Anterior and posterior Wave neurons extend their dendrites in opposite directions to receive somatosensory inputs from the head and tail, respectively. Downstream of anterior Wave neurons, we identify premotor circuits including the neuron A03a5, which together with Wave, is necessary for the backward locomotion touch response. Thus, Wave neurons match their receptive field to appropriate motor programs by participating in different circuits in different segments.

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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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08/08/17 | Organization of the drosophila larval visual circuit.
Larderet I, Fritsch PM, Gendre N, Neagu-Maier GL, Fetter RD, Schneider-Mizell CM, Truman JW, Zlatic M, Cardona A, Sprecher SG
eLife. 2017 Aug 8:e28387. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28387

Visual systems transduce, process and transmit light-dependent environmental cues. Computation of visual features depends on photoreceptor neuron types (PR) present, organization of the eye and wiring of the underlying neural circuit. Here, we describe the circuit architecture of the visual system of Drosophila larvae by mapping the synaptic wiring diagram and neurotransmitters. By contacting different targets, the two larval PR-subtypes create two converging pathways potentially underlying the computation of ambient light intensity and temporal light changes already within this first visual processing center. Locally processed visual information then signals via dedicated projection interneurons to higher brain areas including the lateral horn and mushroom body. The stratified structure of the larval optic neuropil (LON) suggests common organizational principles with the adult fly and vertebrate visual systems. The complete synaptic wiring diagram of the LON paves the way to understanding how circuits with reduced numerical complexity control wide ranges of behaviors.

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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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05/09/17 | Semiparametric spectral modeling of the Drosophila connectome.
Priebe CE, Park Y, Tang M, Athreya A, Lyzinski V, Vogelstein JT, Qin Y, Cocanougher B, Eichler K, Zlatic M, Cardona A
arXiv. 2017 May 9:1705.03297

We present semiparametric spectral modeling of the complete larval Drosophila mushroom body connectome. Motivated by a thorough exploratory data analysis of the network via Gaussian mixture modeling (GMM) in the adjacency spectral embedding (ASE) representation space, we introduce the latent structure model (LSM) for network modeling and inference. LSM is a generalization of the stochastic block model (SBM) and a special case of the random dot product graph (RDPG) latent position model, and is amenable to semiparametric GMM in the ASE representation space. The resulting connectome code derived via semiparametric GMM composed with ASE captures latent connectome structure and elucidates biologically relevant neuronal properties.

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04/19/17 | Pavlovian conditioning of larval Drosophila: an illustrated, multilingual, hands-on manual for odor-taste associative learning in maggots.
Michels B, Saumweber T, Biernacki R, Thur J, Glasgow RD, Schleyer M, Chen Y, Eschbach C, Stocker RF, Toshima N, Tanimura T, Louis M, Arias-Gil G, Marescotti M, Benfenati F, Gerber B
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 19;11:45. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00045

Larval Drosophila offer a study case for behavioral neurogenetics that is simple enough to be experimentally tractable, yet complex enough to be worth the effort. We provide a detailed, hands-on manual for Pavlovian odor-reward learning in these animals. Given the versatility of Drosophila for genetic analyses, combined with the evolutionarily shared genetic heritage with humans, the paradigm has utility not only in behavioral neurogenetics and experimental psychology, but for translational biomedicine as well. Together with the upcoming total synaptic connectome of the Drosophila nervous system and the possibilities of single-cell-specific transgene expression, it offers enticing opportunities for research. Indeed, the paradigm has already been adopted by a number of labs and is robust enough to be used for teaching in classroom settings. This has given rise to a demand for a detailed, hands-on manual directed at newcomers and/or at laboratory novices, and this is what we here provide. The paradigm and the present manual have a unique set of features: • The paradigm is cheap, easy, and robust; • The manual is detailed enough for newcomers or laboratory novices; • It briefly covers the essential scientific context; • It includes sheets for scoring, data analysis, and display; • It is multilingual: in addition to an English version we provide German, French, Japanese, Spanish and Italian language versions as well. The present manual can thus foster science education at an earlier age and enable research by a broader community than has been the case to date.

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03/31/17 | Facilitating Neuron-Specific Genetic Manipulations in Drosophila Using a Split GAL4 Repressor.
Dolan M, Luan H, Shropshire WC, Sutcliffe B, Cocanougher B, Scott RL, Frechter S, Zlatic M, Jefferis GS, White BH
Genetics. 2017 Mar 31;206(2):775-84. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.199687

Efforts to map neural circuits have been galvanized by the development of genetic technologies that permit the manipulation of targeted sets of neurons in the brains of freely behaving animals. The success of these efforts relies on the experimenter's ability to target arbitrarily small subsets of neurons for manipulation, but such specificity of targeting cannot routinely be achieved using existing methods. In Drosophila melanogaster, a widely used technique for refined cell-type specific manipulation is the Split GAL4 system, which augments the targeting specificity of the binary GAL4-UAS system by making GAL4 transcriptional activity contingent upon two enhancers, rather than one. To permit more refined targeting, we introduce here the "Killer Zipper" (KZip(+)), a suppressor that makes Split GAL4 targeting contingent upon a third enhancer. KZip(+) acts by disrupting both the formation and activity of Split GAL4 heterodimers, and we show how this added layer of control can be used to selectively remove unwanted cells from a Split GAL4 expression pattern or to subtract neurons of interest from a pattern to determine their requirement in generating a given phenotype. To facilitate application of the KZip(+) technology, we have developed a versatile set of LexAop-KZip(+) fly lines that can be used directly with the large number of LexA driver lines with known expression patterns. The Killer Zipper significantly sharpens the precision of neuronal genetic control available in Drosophila and may be extended to other organisms where Split GAL4-like systems are used.

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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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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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