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2 Janelia Publications

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    Zlatic LabFetter LabBranson LabSimpson LabTruman LabCardona LabFlyEM
    04/20/15 | A multilevel multimodal circuit enhances action selection in Drosophila.
    Ohyama T, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Aleman JV, Franconville R, Rivera-Alba M, Mensh BD, Branson KM, Simpson JH, Truman JW, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    Nature. 2015 Apr 20;520(7549):633-9. doi: 10.1038/nature14297

    Natural events present multiple types of sensory cues, each detected by a specialized sensory modality. Combining information from several modalities is essential for the selection of appropriate actions. Key to understanding multimodal computations is determining the structural patterns of multimodal convergence and how these patterns contribute to behaviour. Modalities could converge early, late or at multiple levels in the sensory processing hierarchy. Here we show that combining mechanosensory and nociceptive cues synergistically enhances the selection of the fastest mode of escape locomotion in Drosophila larvae. In an electron microscopy volume that spans the entire insect nervous system, we reconstructed the multisensory circuit supporting the synergy, spanning multiple levels of the sensory processing hierarchy. The wiring diagram revealed a complex multilevel multimodal convergence architecture. Using behavioural and physiological studies, we identified functionally connected circuit nodes that trigger the fastest locomotor mode, and others that facilitate it, and we provide evidence that multiple levels of multimodal integration contribute to escape mode selection. We propose that the multilevel multimodal convergence architecture may be a general feature of multisensory circuits enabling complex input–output functions and selective tuning to ecologically relevant combinations of cues.

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    Simpson Lab
    04/01/15 | Generating customized transgene landing sites and multi-transgene arrays in Drosophila using phiC31 integrase.
    Knapp J, Chung P, Simpson JH
    Genetics. 2015 Apr;199(4):919-34. doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.173187

    Transgenesis in numerous eukaryotes has been facilitated by the use of site-specific integrases to stably insert transgenes at predefined genomic positions (landing sites). However, the utility of integrase-mediated transgenesis in any system is constrained by the limited number and variable expression properties of available landing sites. By exploiting the nonstandard recombination activity exhibited by a phiC31 integrase mutant, we developed a rapid and inexpensive method for isolating landing sites that exhibit desired expression properties. Additionally, we devised a simple technique for constructing arrays of transgenes at a single landing site, thereby extending the utility of previously characterized landing sites. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, we demonstrate the feasibility of these approaches by isolating new landing sites optimized to express transgenes in the nervous system and by building fluorescent reporter arrays at several landing sites. Because these strategies require the activity of only a single exogenous protein, we anticipate that they will be portable to species such as nonmodel organisms, in which genetic manipulation is more challenging, expediting the development of genetic resources in these systems.

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