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1 Janelia Publications

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    06/12/22 | Metamorphosis of memory circuits in Drosophila reveal a strategy for evolving a larval brain.
    James W. Truman , Jacquelyn Price , Rosa L. Miyares , Tzumin Lee
    bioRxiv. 2022 Jun 12:. doi: 10.1101/2022.06.09.495452

    Insects like Drosophila produce a second brain adapted to the form and behavior of a larva. Neurons for both larval and adult brains are produced by the same stem cells (neuroblasts) but the larva possesses only the earliest born neurons produced from each. To understand how a functional larval brain is made from this reduced set of neurons, we examined the origins and metamorphic fates of the neurons of the larval and adult mushroom body circuits. The adult mushroom body core is built sequentially of γ Kenyon cells, that form a medial lobe, followed by α’β’, and αβ Kenyon cells that form additional medial lobes and two vertical lobes. Extrinsic input (MBINs) and output (MBONs) neurons divide this core into computational compartments. The larval mushroom body contains only γ neurons. Its medial lobe compartments are roughly homologous to those of the adult and same MBONs are used for both. The larval vertical lobe, however, is an analogous “facsimile” that uses a larval-specific branch on the γ neurons to make up for the missing α’β’, and αβ neurons. The extrinsic cells for the facsimile are early-born neurons that trans-differentiate to serve a mushroom body function in the larva and then shift to other brain circuits in the adult. These findings are discussed in the context of the evolution of a larval brain in insects with complete metamorphosis.

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