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28 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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    06/13/17 | A complete electron microscopy volume of the brain of adult Drosophila melanogaster.
    Yang Z, Lauritzen JS, Perlman E, Robinson CG, Nichols M, Milkie DE, Torrens O, Price J, Fisher CB, Sharifi N, Calle-Schuler SA, Kmecova L, Ali IJ, Karsh B, Trautman ET, Bogovic JA, Hanslovsky P, Jefferis GS, Kazhdan M, Khairy K
    bioRxiv. 2017 Jun 13:. doi: 10.1101/140905

    Drosophila melanogaster has a rich repertoire of innate and learned behaviors. Its 100,000-neuron brain is a large but tractable target for comprehensive neural circuit mapping. Only electron microscopy (EM) enables complete, unbiased mapping of synaptic connectivity; however, the fly brain is too large for conventional EM. We developed a custom high-throughput EM platform and imaged the entire brain of an adult female fly. We validated the dataset by tracing brain-spanning circuitry involving the mushroom body (MB), intensively studied for its role in learning. Here we describe the complete set of olfactory inputs to the MB; find a new cell type providing driving input to Kenyon cells (the intrinsic MB neurons); identify neurons postsynaptic to Kenyon cell dendrites; and find that axonal arbors providing input to the MB calyx are more tightly clustered than previously indicated by light-level data. This freely available EM dataset will significantly accelerate Drosophila neuroscience.

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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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    05/13/16 | The wiring diagram of a glomerular olfactory system.
    Berck ME, Khandelwal A, Claus L, Hernandez-Nunez L, Si G, Tabone CJ, Li F, Truman JW, Fetter RD, Louis M, Samuel AD, Cardona A
    eLife. 2016 May 13;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14859

    The sense of smell enables animals to react to long-distance cues according to learned and innate valences. Here, we have mapped with electron microscopy the complete wiring diagram of the Drosophila larval antennal lobe, an olfactory neuropil similar to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. We found a canonical circuit with uniglomerular projection neurons (uPNs) relaying gain-controlled ORN activity to the mushroom body and the lateral horn. A second, parallel circuit with multiglomerular projection neurons (mPNs) and hierarchically connected local neurons (LNs) selectively integrates multiple ORN signals already at the first synapse. LN-LN synaptic connections putatively implement a bistable gain control mechanism that either computes odor saliency through panglomerular inhibition, or allows some glomeruli to respond to faint aversive odors in the presence of strong appetitive odors. This complete wiring diagram will support experimental and theoretical studies towards bridging the gap between circuits and behavior.

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    Fetter LabCardona Lab
    04/12/16 | Astrocytic glutamate transport regulates a Drosophila CNS synapse that lacks astrocyte ensheathment.
    MacNamee SE, Liu KE, Gerhard S, Tran CT, Fetter RD, Cardona A, Tolbert LP, Oland LA
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2016 Apr 12;524(10):1979-98. doi: 10.1002/cne.24016

    Anatomical, molecular, and physiological interactions between astrocytes and neuronal synapses regulate information processing in the brain. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has become a valuable experimental system for genetic manipulation of the nervous system and has enormous potential for elucidating mechanisms that mediate neuron-glia interactions. Here, we show the first electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila astrocytes and characterize their spatial and physiological relationship with particular synapses. Astrocyte intrinsic properties were found to be strongly analogous to those of vertebrate astrocytes, including a passive current-voltage relationship, low membrane resistance, high capacitance, and dye-coupling to local astrocytes. Responses to optogenetic stimulation of glutamatergic pre-motor neurons were correlated directly with anatomy using serial electron microscopy reconstructions of homologous identified neurons and surrounding astrocytic processes. Robust bidirectional communication was present: neuronal activation triggered astrocytic glutamate transport via Eaat1, and blocking Eaat1 extended glutamatergic interneuron-evoked inhibitory post-synaptic currents in motor neurons. The neuronal synapses were always located within a micron of an astrocytic process, but none were ensheathed by those processes. Thus, fly astrocytes can modulate fast synaptic transmission via neurotransmitter transport within these anatomical parameters. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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    03/18/16 | Quantitative neuroanatomy for connectomics in Drosophila.
    Schneider-Mizell CM, Gerhard S, Longair M, Kazimiers T, Li F, Zwart M, Champion A, Midgley F, Fetter RD, Saalfeld S, Cardona A
    eLife. 2016 Mar 18:e12059. doi: 10.7554/eLife.12059

    Neuronal circuit mapping using electron microscopy demands laborious proofreading or reconciliation of multiple independent reconstructions. Here, we describe new methods to apply quantitative arbor and network context to iteratively proofread and reconstruct circuits and create anatomically enriched wiring diagrams. We measured the morphological underpinnings of connectivity in new and existing reconstructions of Drosophila sensorimotor (larva) and visual (adult) systems. Synaptic inputs were preferentially located on numerous small, microtubule-free 'twigs' which branch off a single microtubule-containing 'backbone'. Omission of individual twigs accounted for 96% of errors. However, the synapses of highly connected neurons were distributed across multiple twigs. Thus, the robustness of a strong connection to detailed twig anatomy was associated with robustness to reconstruction error. By comparing iterative reconstruction to the consensus of multiple reconstructions, we show that our method overcomes the need for redundant effort through the discovery and application of relationships between cellular neuroanatomy and synaptic connectivity.

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