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26 Janelia Publications

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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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    Fetter LabCardona Lab
    10/23/17 | Conserved neural circuit structure across Drosophila larva development revealed by comparative connectomics.
    Gerhard S, Andrade I, Fetter RD, Cardona A, Schneider-Mizell CM
    eLife. 2017 Oct 23;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.29089

    During postembryonic development, the nervous system must adapt to a growing body. How changes in neuronal structure and connectivity contribute to the maintenance of appropriate circuit function remains unclear. In a previous paper (Schneider-Mizell et al., 2016), we measured the cellular neuroanatomy underlying synaptic connectivity in Drosophila. Here, we examined how neuronal morphology and connectivity change between 1st instar and 3rd instar larval stages using serial section electron microscopy. We reconstructed nociceptive circuits in a larva of each stage and found consistent topographically arranged connectivity between identified neurons. Five-fold increases in each size, number of terminal dendritic branches, and total number of synaptic inputs were accompanied by cell-type specific connectivity changes that preserved the fraction of total synaptic input associated with each presynaptic partner. We propose that precise patterns of structural growth act to conserve the computational function of a circuit, for example determining the location of a dangerous stimulus.

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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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    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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    03/29/17 | Trainable Weka Segmentation: a machine learning tool for microscopy pixel classification.
    Arganda-Carreras I, Kaynig V, Rueden C, Eliceiri KW, Schindelin J, Cardona A, Seung HS
    Bioinformatics (Oxford, England). 2017 Mar 29:. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btx180

    Summary: State-of-the-art light and electron microscopes are capable of acquiring large image datasets, but quantitatively evaluating the data often involves manually annotating structures of interest. This processis time-consuming and often a major bottleneck in the evaluation pipeline. To overcome this problem, we have introduced the Trainable Weka Segmentation (TWS), a machine learning tool that leveragesa limited number of manual annotations in order to train a classifier and segment the remaining dataautomatically. In addition, TWS can provide unsupervised segmentation learning schemes (clustering) and can be customized to employ user-designed image features or classifiers.

    Availability and Implementation: TWS is distributed as open-source software as part of the Fiji image processing distribution of ImageJ at


    Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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    01/31/17 | Multicut brings automated neurite segmentation closer to human performance.
    Beier T, Pape C, Rahaman N, Prange T, Berg S, Bock DD, Cardona A, Knott GW, Plaza SM, Scheffer LK, Koethe U, Kreshuk A, Hamprecht FA
    Nature Methods. 2017 Jan 31;14(2):101-102. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4151
    01/17/17 | TED: A Tolerant Edit Distance for segmentation evaluation.
    Funke J, Klein J, Moreno-Noguer F, Cardona A, Cook M
    Methods. 2017 Jan 17:. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.12.013

    In this paper, we present a novel error measure to compare a computer-generated segmentation of images or volumes against ground truth. This measure, which we call Tolerant Edit Distance (TED), is motivated by two observations that we usually encounter in biomedical image processing: (1) Some errors, like small boundary shifts, are tolerable in practice. Which errors are tolerable is application dependent and should be explicitly expressible in the measure. (2) Non-tolerable errors have to be corrected manually. The effort needed to do so should be reflected by the error measure. Our measure is the minimal weighted sum of split and merge operations to apply to one segmentation such that it resembles another segmentation within specified tolerance bounds. This is in contrast to other commonly used measures like Rand index or variation of information, which integrate small, but tolerable, differences. Additionally, the TED provides intuitive numbers and allows the localization and classification of errors in images or volumes. We demonstrate the applicability of the TED on 3D segmentations of neurons in electron microscopy images where topological correctness is arguable more important than exact boundary locations. Furthermore, we show that the TED is not just limited to evaluation tasks. We use it as the loss function in a max-margin learning framework to find parameters of an automatic neuron segmentation algorithm. We show that training to minimize the TED, i.e., to minimize crucial errors, leads to higher segmentation accuracy compared to other learning methods.

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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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