Main Menu (Mobile)- Block

Main Menu - Block

custom | custom

Search Results

general_search_page-panel_pane_1 | views_panes

11 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 11 results
Your Criteria:
    12/11/17 | The functional organization of descending sensory-motor pathways in Drosophila.
    Namiki S, Dickinson MH, Wong AM, Korff W, Card GM
    bioRxiv. 2017 Dec 11:231696. doi: 10.1101/231696

    In most animals, the brain controls the body via a set of descending neurons (DNs) that traverse the neck and terminate in post-cranial regions of the nervous system. This critical neural population is thought to activate, maintain and modulate locomotion and other behaviors. Although individual members of this cell class have been well-studied across species ranging from insects to primates, little is known about the overall connectivity pattern of DNs as a population. We undertook a systematic anatomical investigation of descending neurons in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and created a collection of over 100 transgenic lines targeting individual cell types. Our methods allowed us to describe the morphology of roughly half of an estimated 400 DNs and create a comprehensive map of connectivity between the sensory neuropils in the brain and the motor neuropils in the ventral nerve cord. Like the vertebrate spinal cord, our results show that the fly nerve cord is a highly organized, layered system of neuropils, an organization that reflects the fact that insects are capable of two largely independent means of locomotion -- walking and fight -- using distinct sets of appendages. Our results reveal the basic functional map of descending pathways in flies and provide tools for systematic interrogation of sensory-motor circuits.

    View Publication Page
    12/09/17 | Optogenetic dissection of descending behavioral control in Drosophila.
    Cande J, Berman GJ, Namiki S, Qiu J, Korff W, Card GM, Shaevitz JW, Stern DL
    bioRxiv. 2017 Dec 9:230128. doi: 10.1101/230128

    In most animals, the brain makes behavioral decisions that are transmitted by descending neurons to the nerve cord circuitry that produces behaviors. In insects, only a few descending neurons have been associated with specific behaviors. To explore how descending neurons control insect behavior, we developed a novel method to systematically assay the behavioral effects of 160 descending neurons in freely behaving terrestrial D. melanogaster using optogenetic activation. We calculated a 2-dimensional representation of the entire behavior space explored by these flies and associated descending neurons with specific behaviors by identifying regions of this space that were visited with increased frequency during optogenetic activation. We found, that (1) activation of most of the descending neurons drove stereotyped behaviors, (2) in many cases multiple descending neurons activated similar behaviors, and (3) optogenetically-activated behaviors were often dependent on the behavioral state prior to activation.

    View Publication Page
    11/08/17 | Ultra-selective looming detection from radial motion opponency.
    Klapoetke NC, Nern A, Peek MY, Rogers EM, Breads P, Rubin GM, Reiser MB, Card GM
    Nature. 2017 Nov 08;551(7679):237-241. doi: 10.1038/nature24626

    Nervous systems combine lower-level sensory signals to detect higher-order stimulus features critical to survival, such as the visual looming motion created by an imminent collision or approaching predator. Looming-sensitive neurons have been identified in diverse animal species. Different large-scale visual features such as looming often share local cues, which means loom-detecting neurons face the challenge of rejecting confounding stimuli. Here we report the discovery of an ultra-selective looming detecting neuron, lobula plate/lobula columnar, type II (LPLC2) in Drosophila, and show how its selectivity is established by radial motion opponency. In the fly visual system, directionally selective small-field neurons called T4 and T5 form a spatial map in the lobula plate, where they each terminate in one of four retinotopic layers, such that each layer responds to motion in a different cardinal direction. Single-cell anatomical analysis reveals that each arm of the LPLC2 cross-shaped primary dendrites ramifies in one of these layers and extends along that layer's preferred motion direction. In vivo calcium imaging demonstrates that, as their shape predicts, individual LPLC2 neurons respond strongly to outward motion emanating from the centre of the neuron's receptive field. Each dendritic arm also receives local inhibitory inputs directionally selective for inward motion opposing the excitation. This radial motion opponency generates a balance of excitation and inhibition that makes LPLC2 non-responsive to related patterns of motion such as contraction, wide-field rotation or luminance change. As a population, LPLC2 neurons densely cover visual space and terminate onto the giant fibre descending neurons, which drive the jump muscle motor neuron to trigger an escape take off. Our findings provide a mechanistic description of the selective feature detection that flies use to discern and escape looming threats.

    View Publication Page
    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.

    View Publication Page
    06/21/17 | Feature integration drives probabilistic behavior in the Drosophila escape response.
    von Reyn CR, Nern A, Williamson WR, Breads P, Wu M, Namiki S, Card GM
    Neuron. 2017 Jun 21;94(6):1190-204. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.05.036

    Animals rely on dedicated sensory circuits to extract and encode environmental features. How individual neurons integrate and translate these features into behavioral responses remains a major question. Here, we identify a visual projection neuron type that conveys predator approach information to the Drosophila giant fiber (GF) escape circuit. Genetic removal of this input during looming stimuli reveals that it encodes angular expansion velocity, whereas other input cell type(s) encode angular size. Motor program selection and timing emerge from linear integration of these two features within the GF. Linear integration improves size detection invariance over prior models and appropriately biases motor selection to rapid, GF-mediated escapes during fast looms. Our findings suggest feature integration, and motor control may occur as simultaneous operations within the same neuron and establish the Drosophila escape circuit as a model system in which these computations may be further dissected at the circuit level.

    View Publication Page
    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.

    View Publication Page
    12/28/16 | Visual projection neurons in the Drosophila lobula link feature detection to distinct behavioral programs.
    Wu M, Nern A, Williamson WR, Morimoto MM, Reiser MB, Card GM, Rubin GM
    eLife. 2016 Dec 28;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21022

    Visual projection neurons (VPNs) provide an anatomical connection between early visual processing and higher brain regions. Here we characterize lobula columnar (LC) cells, a class of Drosophila VPNs that project to distinct central brain structures called optic glomeruli. We anatomically describe 22 different LC types and show that, for several types, optogenetic activation in freely moving flies evokes specific behaviors. The activation phenotypes of two LC types closely resemble natural avoidance behaviors triggered by a visual loom. In vivo two-photon calcium imaging reveals that these LC types respond to looming stimuli, while another type does not, but instead responds to the motion of a small object. Activation of LC neurons on only one side of the brain can result in attractive or aversive turning behaviors depending on the cell type. Our results indicate that LC neurons convey information on the presence and location of visual features relevant for specific behaviors.

    View Publication Page
    10/03/16 | Comparative approaches to escape.
    Peek MY, Card GM
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2016 Oct 3;41:167-173. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.09.012

    Neural circuits mediating visually evoked escape behaviors are promising systems in which to dissect the neural basis of behavior. Behavioral responses to predator-like looming stimuli, and their underlying neural computations, are remarkably similar across species. Recently, genetic tools have been applied in this classical paradigm, revealing novel non-cortical pathways that connect loom processing to defensive behaviors in mammals and demonstrating that loom encoding models from locusts also fit vertebrate neural responses. In both invertebrates and vertebrates, relative spike-timing in descending pathways is a mechanism for escape behavior choice. Current findings suggest that experimentally tractable systems, such as Drosophila, may be applicable models for sensorimotor processing and persistent states in higher organisms.

    View Publication Page
    05/25/16 | Genetic and environmental control of neurodevelopmental robustness in Drosophila.
    Mellert DJ, Williamson WR, Shirangi TR, Card GM, Truman JW
    PLoS One. 2016 May 25;11(5):e0155957. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155957

    Interindividual differences in neuronal wiring may contribute to behavioral individuality and affect susceptibility to neurological disorders. To investigate the causes and potential consequences of wiring variation in Drosophila melanogaster, we focused on a hemilineage of ventral nerve cord interneurons that exhibits morphological variability. We find that late-born subclasses of the 12A hemilineage are highly sensitive to genetic and environmental variation. Neurons in the second thoracic segment are particularly variable with regard to two developmental decisions, whereas its segmental homologs are more robust. This variability "hotspot" depends on Ultrabithorax expression in the 12A neurons, indicating variability is cell-intrinsic and under genetic control. 12A development is more variable and sensitive to temperature in long-established laboratory strains than in strains recently derived from the wild. Strains with a high frequency of one of the 12A variants also showed a high frequency of animals with delayed spontaneous flight initiation, whereas other wing-related behaviors did not show such a correlation and were thus not overtly affected by 12A variation. These results show that neurodevelopmental robustness is variable and under genetic control in Drosophila and suggest that the fly may serve as a model for identifying conserved gene pathways that stabilize wiring in stressful developmental environments. Moreover, some neuronal lineages are variation hotspots and thus may be more amenable to evolutionary change.

    View Publication Page
    07/17/14 | A spike-timing mechanism for action selection.
    von Reyn CR, Breads P, Peek MY, Zheng GZ, Williamson WR, Yee AL, Leonardo A, Card GM
    Nature Neuroscience. 2014 Jul 17;17(7):962-70. doi: 10.1038/nn.3741

    We discovered a bimodal behavior in the genetically tractable organism Drosophila melanogaster that allowed us to directly probe the neural mechanisms of an action selection process. When confronted by a predator-mimicking looming stimulus, a fly responds with either a long-duration escape behavior sequence that initiates stable flight or a distinct, short-duration sequence that sacrifices flight stability for speed. Intracellular recording of the descending giant fiber (GF) interneuron during head-fixed escape revealed that GF spike timing relative to parallel circuits for escape actions determined which of the two behavioral responses was elicited. The process was well described by a simple model in which the GF circuit has a higher activation threshold than the parallel circuits, but can override ongoing behavior to force a short takeoff. Our findings suggest a neural mechanism for action selection in which relative activation timing of parallel circuits creates the appropriate motor output.

    View Publication Page