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12 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 12 results
05/21/19 | Neurogenetic dissection of the lateral horn reveals major outputs, diverse behavioural functions, and interactions with the mushroom body.
Dolan M, Frechter S, Bates AS, Dan C, Huoviala P, Roberts RJ, Schlegel P, Dhawan S, Tabano R, Dionne H, Christoforou C, Close K, Sutcliffe B, Giuliani B, Li F, Costa M, Ihrke G, Meissner GW, Bock DD, Aso Y, Rubin GM, Jefferis GS
Elife. 2019 May 21;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43079

Animals exhibit innate behaviours to a variety of sensory stimuli including olfactory cues. In , one higher olfactory centre, the lateral horn (LH), is implicated in innate behaviour. However, our structural and functional understanding of the LH is scant, in large part due to a lack of sparse neurogenetic tools for this region. We generate a collection of split-GAL4 driver lines providing genetic access to 82 LH cell types. We use these to create an anatomical and neurotransmitter map of the LH and link this to EM connectomics data. We find ~30% of LH projections converge with outputs from the mushroom body, site of olfactory learning and memory. Using optogenetic activation, we identify LH cell types that drive changes in valence behavior or specific locomotor programs. In summary, we have generated a resource for manipulating and mapping LH neurons, providing new insights into the circuit basis of innate and learned olfactory behavior.

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02/28/19 | Neural basis for looming size and velocity encoding in the Drosophila giant fiber escape pathway.
Ache JM, Polsky J, Alghailani S, Parekh R, Breads P, Peek MY, Bock DD, von Reyn CR, Card GM
Current Biology : CB. 2019 Feb 28;29(6):1073. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.079

Identified neuron classes in vertebrate cortical [1-4] and subcortical [5-8] areas and invertebrate peripheral [9-11] and central [12-14] brain neuropils encode specific visual features of a panorama. How downstream neurons integrate these features to control vital behaviors, like escape, is unclear [15]. In Drosophila, the timing of a single spike in the giant fiber (GF) descending neuron [16-18] determines whether a fly uses a short or long takeoff when escaping a looming predator [13]. We previously proposed that GF spike timing results from summation of two visual features whose detection is highly conserved across animals [19]: an object's subtended angular size and its angular velocity [5-8, 11, 20, 21]. We attributed velocity encoding to input from lobula columnar type 4 (LC4) visual projection neurons, but the size-encoding source remained unknown. Here, we show that lobula plate/lobula columnar, type 2 (LPLC2) visual projection neurons anatomically specialized to detect looming [22] provide the entire GF size component. We find LPLC2 neurons to be necessary for GF-mediated escape and show that LPLC2 and LC4 synapse directly onto the GF via reconstruction in a fly brain electron microscopy (EM) volume [23]. LPLC2 silencing eliminates the size component of the GF looming response in patch-clamp recordings, leaving only the velocity component. A model summing a linear function of angular velocity (provided by LC4) and a Gaussian function of angular size (provided by LPLC2) replicates GF looming response dynamics and predicts the peak response time. We thus present an identified circuit in which information from looming feature-detecting neurons is combined by a common post-synaptic target to determine behavioral output.

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12/18/18 | Mapping Neurotransmitter Identity in the Whole-Mount Brain Using Multiplex High-Throughput Fluorescence Hybridization.
Meissner GW, Nern A, Singer RH, Wong AM, Malkesman O, Long X
Genetics. 2018 Dec 18;211(2):473-82. doi: 10.1534/genetics.118.301749

Identifying the neurotransmitters used by specific neurons is a critical step in understanding the function of neural circuits. However, methods for the consistent and efficient detection of neurotransmitter markers remain limited. Fluorescence hybridization (FISH) enables direct labeling of type-specific mRNA in neurons. Recent advances in FISH allow this technique to be carried out in intact tissue samples such as whole-mount brains. Here, we present a FISH platform for high-throughput detection of eight common neurotransmitter phenotypes in brains. We greatly increase FISH throughput by processing samples mounted on coverslips and optimizing fluorophore choice for each probe to facilitate multiplexing. As application examples, we demonstrate cases of neurotransmitter co-expression, reveal neurotransmitter phenotypes of specific cell types and explore the onset of neurotransmitter expression in the developing optic lobe. Beyond neurotransmitter markers, our protocols can in principle be used for large scale FISH detection of any mRNA in whole-mount fly brains.

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09/19/18 | Communication from learned to innate olfactory processing centers is required for memory retrieval in Drosophila.
Dolan M, Belliart-Guérin G, Bates AS, Frechter S, Lampin-Saint-Amaux A, Aso Y, Roberts RJ, Schlegel P, Wong A, Hammad A, Bock D, Rubin GM, Preat T, Placais P, Jefferis GS
Neuron. 2018 Sep 19;100(3):651-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.08.037

The behavioral response to a sensory stimulus may depend on both learned and innate neuronal representations. How these circuits interact to produce appropriate behavior is unknown. In Drosophila, the lateral horn (LH) and mushroom body (MB) are thought to mediate innate and learned olfactory behavior, respectively, although LH function has not been tested directly. Here we identify two LH cell types (PD2a1 and PD2b1) that receive input from an MB output neuron required for recall of aversive olfactory memories. These neurons are required for aversive memory retrieval and modulated by training. Connectomics data demonstrate that PD2a1 and PD2b1 neurons also receive direct input from food odor-encoding neurons. Consistent with this, PD2a1 and PD2b1 are also necessary for unlearned attraction to some odors, indicating that these neurons have a dual behavioral role. This provides a circuit mechanism by which learned and innate olfactory information can interact in identified neurons to produce appropriate behavior.

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08/15/18 | Optimization of fluorophores for chemical tagging and immunohistochemistry of Drosophila neurons.
Meissner GW, Grimm JB, Johnston RM, Sutcliffe B, Ng J, Jefferis GS, Cachero S, Lavis LD, Malkesman O
PLoS One. 2018 Aug 15;13(8):e0200759. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200759

The use of genetically encoded 'self-labeling tags' with chemical fluorophore ligands enables rapid labeling of specific cells in neural tissue. To improve the chemical tagging of neurons, we synthesized and evaluated new fluorophore ligands based on Cy, Janelia Fluor, Alexa Fluor, and ATTO dyes and tested these with recently improved Drosophila melanogaster transgenes. We found that tissue clearing and mounting in DPX substantially improves signal quality when combined with specific non-cyanine fluorophores. We compared and combined this labeling technique with standard immunohistochemistry in the Drosophila brain.

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07/25/18 | An unbiased template of the Drosophila brain and ventral nerve cord.
Bogovic JA, Otsuna H, Heinrich L, Ito M, Jeter J, Meissner GW, Nern A, Colonell J, Malkesman O, Saalfeld S
bioRxiv. 2018 Jul 25:. doi: 10.1101/376384

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an important model organism for neuroscience with a wide array of genetic tools that enable the mapping of individuals neurons and neural subtypes. Brain templates are essential for comparative biological studies because they enable analyzing many individuals in a common reference space. Several central brain templates exist for Drosophila, but every one is either biased, uses sub-optimal tissue preparation, is imaged at low resolution, or does not account for artifacts. No publicly available Drosophila ventral nerve cord template currently exists. In this work, we created high-resolution templates of the Drosophila brain and ventral nerve cord using the best-available technologies for imaging, artifact correction, stitching, and template construction using groupwise registration. We evaluated our central brain template against the four most competitive, publicly available brain templates and demonstrate that ours enables more accurate registration with fewer local deformations in shorter time.

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07/26/17 | Recent progress in the 3D reconstruction of Drosophila neural circuits.
Shinomiya K, Ito M
Decoding Neural Circuit Structure and Function:63-89. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-57363-2_3

The brain of fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been used as a model system for functional analysis of neuronal circuits, including connectomics research, due to its modest size (~700 μm) and availability of abundant molecular genetics tools for visualizing neurons. Three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of high-resolution images of neurons or circuits visualized with appropriate methods is a critical step for obtaining information such as morphology and connectivity patterns of neuronal circuits. In this chapter, we introduce methods for generating 3D reconstructed images with data acquired from confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) or electron microscopy (EM) to analyze neuronal circuits found in the central nervous system (CNS) of the fruit fly. Comparisons of different algorithms and strategies for reconstructing neuronal circuits, using actual studies as references, will be discussed within this chapter.

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07/13/17 | Mapping the neural substrates of behavior.
Robie AA, Hirokawa J, Edwards AW, Umayam LA, Lee A, Phillips ML, Card GM, Korff W, Rubin GM, Simpson JH, Reiser MB, Branson KM
Cell. 2017-07-13;170(2):393-406. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.032

Assigning behavioral functions to neural structures has long been a central goal in neuroscience and is a necessary first step toward a circuit-level understanding of how the brain generates behavior. Here, we map the neural substrates of locomotion and social behaviors for Drosophila melanogaster using automated machine-vision and machine-learning techniques. From videos of 400,000 flies, we quantified the behavioral effects of activating 2,204 genetically targeted populations of neurons. We combined a novel quantification of anatomy with our behavioral analysis to create brain-behavior correlation maps, which are shared as browsable web pages and interactive software. Based on these maps, we generated hypotheses of regions of the brain causally related to sensory processing, locomotor control, courtship, aggression, and sleep. Our maps directly specify genetic tools to target these regions, which we used to identify a small population of neurons with a role in the control of walking.

•We developed machine-vision methods to broadly and precisely quantify fly behavior•We measured effects of activating 2,204 genetically targeted neuronal populations•We created whole-brain maps of neural substrates of locomotor and social behaviors•We created resources for exploring our results and enabling further investigation

Machine-vision analyses of large behavior and neuroanatomy data reveal whole-brain maps of regions associated with numerous complex behaviors.

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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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08/07/14 | 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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