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33 Janelia Publications

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    10/14/20 | The neuroanatomical ultrastructure and function of a biological ring attractor.
    Turner-Evans DB, Jensen KT, Ali S, Paterson T, Sheridan A, Ray RP, Wolff T, Lauritzen JS, Rubin GM, Bock DD, Jayaraman V
    Neuron. 2020 Oct 14;108(1):145-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.08.006

    Neural representations of head direction (HD) have been discovered in many species. Theoretical work has proposed that the dynamics associated with these representations are generated, maintained, and updated by recurrent network structures called ring attractors. We evaluated this theorized structure-function relationship by performing electron-microscopy-based circuit reconstruction and RNA profiling of identified cell types in the HD system of Drosophila melanogaster. We identified motifs that have been hypothesized to maintain the HD representation in darkness, update it when the animal turns, and tether it to visual cues. Functional studies provided support for the proposed roles of individual excitatory or inhibitory circuit elements in shaping activity. We also discovered recurrent connections between neuronal arbors with mixed pre- and postsynaptic specializations. Our results confirm that the Drosophila HD network contains the core components of a ring attractor while also revealing unpredicted structural features that might enhance the network's computational power.

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    09/03/20 | A connectome of the adult drosophila central brain.
    Xu CS, Januszewski M, Lu Z, Takemura S, Hayworth KJ, Huang G, Shinomiya K, Maitin-Shepard J, Ackerman D, Berg S, Blakely T, Bogovic J, Clements J, Dolafi T, Hubbard P, Kainmueller D, Katz W, Kawase T, Khairy KA, Leavitt L, Li PH, Lindsey L, Neubarth N, Olbris DJ, Otsuna H, Troutman ET, Umayam L, Zhao T, Ito M, Goldammer J, Wolff T, Svirskas R, Schlegel P, Neace ER, Knecht CJ, Alvarado CX, Bailey DA, Ballinger S, Borycz JA, Canino BS
    eLife. 2020 Sep 03:. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.21.911859

    The neural circuits responsible for behavior remain largely unknown. Previous efforts have reconstructed the complete circuits of small animals, with hundreds of neurons, and selected circuits for larger animals. Here we (the FlyEM project at Janelia and collaborators at Google) summarize new methods and present the complete circuitry of a large fraction of the brain of a much more complex animal, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Improved methods include new procedures to prepare, image, align, segment, find synapses, and proofread such large data sets; new methods that define cell types based on connectivity in addition to morphology; and new methods to simplify access to a large and evolving data set. From the resulting data we derive a better definition of computational compartments and their connections; an exhaustive atlas of cell examples and types, many of them novel; detailed circuits for most of the central brain; and exploration of the statistics and structure of different brain compartments, and the brain as a whole. We make the data public, with a web site and resources specifically designed to make it easy to explore, for all levels of expertise from the expert to the merely curious. The public availability of these data, and the simplified means to access it, dramatically reduces the effort needed to answer typical circuit questions, such as the identity of upstream and downstream neural partners, the circuitry of brain regions, and to link the neurons defined by our analysis with genetic reagents that can be used to study their functions.

    Note: In the next few weeks, we will release a series of papers with more involved discussions. One paper will detail the hemibrain reconstruction with more extensive analysis and interpretation made possible by this dense connectome. Another paper will explore the central complex, a brain region involved in navigation, motor control, and sleep. A final paper will present insights from the mushroom body, a center of multimodal associative learning in the fly brain.

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    07/08/20 | Mechanisms underlying the neural computation of head direction.
    Hulse BK, Jayaraman V
    Annual Review of Neuroscience. 2020 Jul 8;43:31-54. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-072116-031516

    Many animals use an internal sense of direction to guide their movements through the world. Neurons selective to head direction are thought to support this directional sense and have been found in a diverse range of species, from insects to primates, highlighting their evolutionary importance. Across species, most head-direction networks share four key properties: a unique representation of direction at all times, persistent activity in the absence of movement, integration of angular velocity to update the representation, and the use of directional cues to correct drift. The dynamics of theorized network structures called ring attractors elegantly account for these properties, but their relationship to brain circuits is unclear. Here, we review experiments in rodents and flies that offer insights into potential neural implementations of ring attractor networks. We suggest that a theory-guided search across model systems for biological mechanisms that enable such dynamics would uncover general principles underlying head-direction circuit function. Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 43 is July 8, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

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    02/08/20 | A fast genetically encoded fluorescent sensor for faithful in vivo acetylcholine detection in mice, fish, worms and flies.
    Borden P, Zhang P, Shivange AV, Marvin JS, Cichon J, Dan C, Podgorski K, Figueiredo A, Novak O, Tanimoto M, Shigetomi E, Lobas MA, Kim H, Zhu P, Zhang Y, Zheng WS, Fan C, Wang G, Xiang B, Gan L, Zhang G, Guo K, Lin L, Cai Y, Yee AG, Aggarwal A, Ford CP, Rees DC, Dietrich D, Khakh BS, Dittman JS, Gan W, Koyama M, Jayaraman V, Cheer JF, Lester HA, Zhu JJ, Looger LL
    bioRxiv. 2020 Feb 8:. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.07.939504

    Here we design and optimize a genetically encoded fluorescent indicator, iAChSnFR, for the ubiquitous neurotransmitter acetylcholine, based on a bacterial periplasmic binding protein. iAChSnFR shows large fluorescence changes, rapid rise and decay kinetics, and insensitivity to most cholinergic drugs. iAChSnFR revealed large transients in a variety of slice and in vivo preparations in mouse, fish, fly and worm. iAChSnFR will be useful for the study of acetylcholine in all animals.

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    11/20/19 | Generation of stable heading representations in diverse visual scenes.
    Kim SS, Hermundstad AM, Romani S, Abbott LF, Jayaraman V
    Nature. 2019 Nov 20;576(7785):126-31. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1767-1

    Many animals rely on an internal heading representation when navigating in varied environments. How this representation is linked to the sensory cues that define different surroundings is unclear. In the fly brain, heading is represented by 'compass' neurons that innervate a ring-shaped structure known as the ellipsoid body. Each compass neuron receives inputs from 'ring' neurons that are selective for particular visual features; this combination provides an ideal substrate for the extraction of directional information from a visual scene. Here we combine two-photon calcium imaging and optogenetics in tethered flying flies with circuit modelling, and show how the correlated activity of compass and visual neurons drives plasticity, which flexibly transforms two-dimensional visual cues into a stable heading representation. We also describe how this plasticity enables the fly to convert a partial heading representation, established from orienting within part of a novel setting, into a complete heading representation. Our results provide mechanistic insight into the memory-related computations that are essential for flexible navigation in varied surroundings.

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    06/17/19 | High-performance calcium sensors for imaging activity in neuronal populations and microcompartments.
    Dana H, Sun Y, Mohar B, Hulse BK, Kerlin AM, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Tsang A, Wong A, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Chen Y, Konnerth A, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Schreiter ER, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    Nature Methods. 2019 Jun 17;16(7):649-57. doi: 10.1038/s41592-019-0435-6

    Calcium imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) is routinely used to measure neural activity in intact nervous systems. GECIs are frequently used in one of two different modes: to track activity in large populations of neuronal cell bodies, or to follow dynamics in subcellular compartments such as axons, dendrites and individual synaptic compartments. Despite major advances, calcium imaging is still limited by the biophysical properties of existing GECIs, including affinity, signal-to-noise ratio, rise and decay kinetics and dynamic range. Using structure-guided mutagenesis and neuron-based screening, we optimized the green fluorescent protein-based GECI GCaMP6 for different modes of in vivo imaging. The resulting jGCaMP7 sensors provide improved detection of individual spikes (jGCaMP7s,f), imaging in neurites and neuropil (jGCaMP7b), and may allow tracking larger populations of neurons using two-photon (jGCaMP7s,f) or wide-field (jGCaMP7c) imaging.

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    05/22/19 | Busted! A dope ring with activity clocked at dawn and dusk.
    Hulse B, Jayaraman V
    Neuron. 2019 May 22;102(4):713-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.05.004

    Clock neurons generate circadian rhythms in behavioral activity, but the relevant pathways remain poorly understood. In this issue of Neuron, Liang et al. (2019) show that distinct clock neurons independently drive movement-promoting “ring neurons” in Drosophila through dopaminergic relays to support morning and evening locomotor activity.

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    04/29/19 | Visually guided behavior and optogenetically induced learning in head-fixed flies exploring a virtual landscape.
    Haberkern H, Basnak MA, Ahanonu B, Schauder D, Cohen JD, Bolstad M, Bruns C, Jayaraman V
    Current Biology : CB. 2019 Apr 29:. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.033

    Studying the intertwined roles of sensation, experience, and directed action in navigation has been facilitated by the development of virtual reality (VR) environments for head-fixed animals, allowing for quantitative measurements of behavior in well-controlled conditions. VR has long featured in studies of Drosophila melanogaster, but these experiments have typically allowed the fly to change only its heading in a visual scene and not its position. Here we explore how flies move in two dimensions (2D) using a visual VR environment that more closely captures an animal's experience during free behavior. We show that flies' 2D interaction with landmarks cannot be automatically derived from their orienting behavior under simpler one-dimensional (1D) conditions. Using novel paradigms, we then demonstrate that flies in 2D VR adapt their behavior in response to optogenetically delivered appetitive and aversive stimuli. Much like free-walking flies after encounters with food, head-fixed flies exploring a 2D VR respond to optogenetic activation of sugar-sensing neurons by initiating a local search, which appears not to rely on visual landmarks. Visual landmarks can, however, help flies to avoid areas in VR where they experience an aversive, optogenetically generated heat stimulus. By coupling aversive virtual heat to the flies' presence near visual landmarks of specific shapes, we elicit selective learned avoidance of those landmarks. Thus, we demonstrate that head-fixed flies adaptively navigate in 2D virtual environments, but their reliance on visual landmarks is context dependent. These behavioral paradigms set the stage for interrogation of the fly brain circuitry underlying flexible navigation in complex multisensory environments.

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    10/03/18 | High-performance GFP-based calcium indicators for imaging activity in neuronal populations and microcompartments.
    Dana H, Sun Y, Mohar B, Hulse B, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Tsang A, Wong A, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Chen Y, Konnerth A, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Schreiter ER, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    bioRxiv. 2018 Oct 3:. doi: 10.1101/434589

    Calcium imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) is routinely used to measure neural activity in intact nervous systems. GECIs are frequently used in one of two different modes: to track activity in large populations of neuronal cell bodies, or to follow dynamics in subcellular compartments such as axons, dendrites and individual synaptic compartments. Despite major advances, calcium imaging is still limited by the biophysical properties of existing GECIs, including affinity, signal-to-noise ratio, rise and decay kinetics, and dynamic range. Using structure-guided mutagenesis and neuron-based screening, we optimized the green fluorescent protein-based GECI GCaMP6 for different modes of in vivo imaging. The jGCaMP7 sensors provide improved detection of individual spikes (jGCaMP7s,f), imaging in neurites and neuropil (jGCaMP7b), and tracking large populations of neurons using 2-photon (jGCaMP7s,f) or wide-field (jGCaMP7c) imaging.

     

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    09/05/18 | Defective cortex glia plasma membrane structure underlies light-induced epilepsy in mutants.
    Kunduri G, Turner-Evans D, Konya Y, Izumi Y, Nagashima K, Lockett S, Holthuis J, Bamba T, Acharya U, Acharya JK
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2018 Sep 05;115(38):E8919-28. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1808463115

    Seizures induced by visual stimulation (photosensitive epilepsy; PSE) represent a common type of epilepsy in humans, but the molecular mechanisms and genetic drivers underlying PSE remain unknown, and no good genetic animal models have been identified as yet. Here, we show an animal model of PSE, in , owing to defective cortex glia. The cortex glial membranes are severely compromised in ceramide phosphoethanolamine synthase ()-null mutants and fail to encapsulate the neuronal cell bodies in the neuronal cortex. Expression of human sphingomyelin synthase 1, which synthesizes the closely related ceramide phosphocholine (sphingomyelin), rescues the cortex glial abnormalities and PSE, underscoring the evolutionarily conserved role of these lipids in glial membranes. Further, we show the compromise in plasma membrane structure that underlies the glial cell membrane collapse in mutants and leads to the PSE phenotype.

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