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11 Janelia Publications

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    01/25/21 | Idiosyncratic learning performance in flies generalizes across modalities.
    Matthew Smith , Kyle S. Honegger , Glenn Turner , Benjamin de Bivort
    bioRxiv. 2021 Jan 25:

    Individuals vary in their innate behaviors, even when they have the same genome and have been reared in the same environment. The extent of individuality in plastic behaviors, like learning, is less well characterized. Also unknown is the extent to which intragenotypic differences in learning generalize: if an individual performs well in one assay, will it perform well in other assays? We investigated this using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, an organism long-used to study the mechanistic basis of learning and memory. We found that isogenic flies, reared in identical lab conditions, and subject to classical conditioning that associated odorants with electric shock, exhibit clear individuality in their learning responses. Flies that performed well when an odor was paired with shock tended to perform well when other odors were paired with shock, or when the original odor was paired with bitter taste. Thus, individuality in learning performance appears to be prominent in isogenic animals reared identically, and individual differences in learning performance generalize across stimulus modalities. Establishing these results in flies opens up the possibility of studying the genetic and neural circuit basis of individual differences in learning in a highly suitable model organism.

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    09/22/20 | Idiosyncratic neural coding and neuromodulation of olfactory individuality in Drosophila.
    Honegger KS, Smith MA, Churgin MA, Turner GC, de Bivort BL
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2020 Sep 22;117(38):23292-23297. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1901623116

    Innate behavioral biases and preferences can vary significantly among individuals of the same genotype. Though individuality is a fundamental property of behavior, it is not currently understood how individual differences in brain structure and physiology produce idiosyncratic behaviors. Here we present evidence for idiosyncrasy in olfactory behavior and neural responses in We show that individual female from a highly inbred laboratory strain exhibit idiosyncratic odor preferences that persist for days. We used in vivo calcium imaging of neural responses to compare projection neuron (second-order neurons that convey odor information from the sensory periphery to the central brain) responses to the same odors across animals. We found that, while odor responses appear grossly stereotyped, upon closer inspection, many individual differences are apparent across antennal lobe (AL) glomeruli (compact microcircuits corresponding to different odor channels). Moreover, we show that neuromodulation, environmental stress in the form of altered nutrition, and activity of certain AL local interneurons affect the magnitude of interfly behavioral variability. Taken together, this work demonstrates that individual exhibit idiosyncratic olfactory preferences and idiosyncratic neural responses to odors, and that behavioral idiosyncrasies are subject to neuromodulation and regulation by neurons in the AL.

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    07/08/20 | The Drosophila mushroom body: From architecture to algorithm in a learning circuit.
    Modi MN, Shuai Y, Turner GC
    Annual Review of Neuroscience. 2020 Jul 08;43:465-484. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-080317-0621333

    The brain contains a relatively simple circuit for forming Pavlovian associations, yet it achieves many operations common across memory systems. Recent advances have established a clear framework for learning and revealed the following key operations: ) pattern separation, whereby dense combinatorial representations of odors are preprocessed to generate highly specific, nonoverlapping odor patterns used for learning; ) convergence, in which sensory information is funneled to a small set of output neurons that guide behavioral actions; ) plasticity, where changing the mapping of sensory input to behavioral output requires a strong reinforcement signal, which is also modulated by internal state and environmental context; and ) modularization, in which a memory consists of multiple parallel traces, which are distinct in stability and flexibility and exist in anatomically well-defined modules within the network. Cross-module interactions allow for higher-order effects where past experience influences future learning. Many of these operations have parallels with processes of memory formation and action selection in more complex brains.

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    04/13/20 | The Mushroom Body: From Architecture to Algorithm in a Learning Circuit.
    Modi MN, Shuai Y, Turner GC
    Annual Review of Neuroscience. 2020 Apr 13:. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-080317-0621333

    The brain contains a relatively simple circuit for forming Pavlovian associations, yet it achieves many operations common across memory systems. Recent advances have established a clear framework for learning and revealed the following key operations: ) pattern separation, whereby dense combinatorial representations of odors are preprocessed to generate highly specific, nonoverlapping odor patterns used for learning; ) convergence, in which sensory information is funneled to a small set of output neurons that guide behavioral actions; ) plasticity, where changing the mapping of sensory input to behavioral output requires a strong reinforcement signal, which is also modulated by internal state and environmental context; and ) modularization, in which a memory consists of multiple parallel traces, which are distinct in stability and flexibility and exist in anatomically well-defined modules within the network. Cross-module interactions allow for higher-order effects where past experience influences future learning. Many of these operations have parallels with processes of memory formation and action selection in more complex brains. 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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    11/25/19 | Two-photon imaging with silicon photomultipliers.
    Modi MN, Daie K, Turner GC, Podgorski K
    Optics Express. 2019 Nov 25;27(24):35830-35841. doi: 10.1364/OE.27.035830

    We compared performance of recently developed silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) to GaAsP photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) for two-photon imaging of neural activity. Despite higher dark counts, SiPMs match or exceed the signal-to-noise ratio of PMTs at photon rates encountered in typical calcium imaging experiments due to their low pulse height variability. At higher photon rates encountered during high-speed voltage imaging, SiPMs substantially outperform PMTs.

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    08/13/19 | Bright and photostable chemigenetic indicators for extended in vivo voltage imaging.
    Abdelfattah AS, Kawashima T, Singh A, Novak O, Liu H, Shuai Y, Huang Y, Campagnola L, Seeman SC, Yu J, Zheng J, Grimm JB, Patel R, Friedrich J, Mensh BD, Paninski L, Macklin JJ, Murphy GJ, Podgorski K, Lin B, Chen T, Turner GC, Liu Z, Koyama M, Svoboda K, Ahrens MB, Lavis LD, Schreiter ER
    Science. 2019 Aug 13;365(6454):699-704. doi: 10.1126/science.aav6416

    Imaging changes in membrane potential using genetically encoded fluorescent voltage indicators (GEVIs) has great potential for monitoring neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. Brightness and photostability of fluorescent proteins and rhodopsins have limited the utility of existing GEVIs. We engineered a novel GEVI, "Voltron", that utilizes bright and photostable synthetic dyes instead of protein-based fluorophores, extending the combined duration of imaging and number of neurons imaged simultaneously by more than tenfold relative to existing GEVIs. We used Voltron for in vivo voltage imaging in mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies. In mouse cortex, Voltron allowed single-trial recording of spikes and subthreshold voltage signals from dozens of neurons simultaneously, over 15 min of continuous imaging. In larval zebrafish, Voltron enabled the precise correlation of spike timing with behavior.

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    07/18/17 | A connectome of a learning and memory center in the adult Drosophila brain.
    Takemura S, Aso Y, Hige T, Wong AM, Lu Z, Xu CS, Rivlin PK, Hess HF, Zhao T, Parag T, Berg S, Huang G, Katz WT, Olbris DJ, Plaza SM, Umayam LA, Aniceto R, Chang L, Lauchie S, et al
    eLife. 2017 Jul 18;6:e26975. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26975

    Understanding memory formation, storage and retrieval requires knowledge of the underlying neuronal circuits. In Drosophila, the mushroom body (MB) is the major site of associative learning. We reconstructed the morphologies and synaptic connections of all 983 neurons within the three functional units, or compartments, that compose the adult MB’s α lobe, using a dataset of isotropic 8-nm voxels collected by focused ion-beam milling scanning electron microscopy. We found that Kenyon cells (KCs), whose sparse activity encodes sensory information, each make multiple en passant synapses to MB output neurons (MBONs) in each compartment. Some MBONs have inputs from all KCs, while others differentially sample sensory modalities. Only six percent of KC>MBON synapses receive a direct synapse from a dopaminergic neuron (DAN). We identified two unanticipated classes of synapses, KC>DAN and DAN>MBON. DAN activation produces a slow depolarization of the MBON in these DAN>MBON synapses and can weaken memory recall.

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    05/05/17 | What can tiny mushrooms in fruit flies tell us about learning and memory?
    Hige T
    Neuroscience Research. 2017 May 05;129:8-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2017.05.002

    Nervous systems have evolved to translate external stimuli into appropriate behavioral responses. In an ever-changing environment, flexible adjustment of behavioral choice by experience-dependent learning is essential for the animal's survival. Associative learning is a simple form of learning that is widely observed from worms to humans. To understand the whole process of learning, we need to know how sensory information is represented and transformed in the brain, how it is changed by experience, and how the changes are reflected on motor output. To tackle these questions, studying numerically simple invertebrate nervous systems has a great advantage. In this review, I will feature the Pavlovian olfactory learning in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The mushroom body is a key brain area for the olfactory learning in this organism. Recently, comprehensive anatomical information and the genetic tool sets were made available for the mushroom body circuit. This greatly accelerated the physiological understanding of the learning process. One of the key findings was dopamine-induced long-term synaptic plasticity that can alter the representations of stimulus valence. I will mostly focus on the new studies within these few years and discuss what we can possibly learn about the vertebrate systems from this model organism.

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    04/15/16 | Direct neural pathways convey distinct visual information to Drosophila mushroom bodies.
    Vogt K, Aso Y, Hige T, Knapek S, Ichinose T, Friedrich AB, Turner GC, Rubin GM, Tanimoto H
    eLife. 2016 Apr 15;5:e14009. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14009

    Previously, we identified that visual and olfactory associative memories of Drosophila share the mushroom body (MB) circuits (Vogt et al. 2014). Despite well-characterized odor representations in the Drosophila MB, the MB circuit for visual information is totally unknown. Here we show that a small subset of MB Kenyon cells (KCs) selectively responds to visual but not olfactory stimulation. The dendrites of these atypical KCs form a ventral accessory calyx (vAC), distinct from the main calyx that receives olfactory input. We identified two types of visual projection neurons (VPNs) directly connecting the optic lobes and the vAC. Strikingly, these VPNs are differentially required for visual memories of color and brightness. The segregation of visual and olfactory domains in the MB allows independent processing of distinct sensory memories and may be a conserved form of sensory representations among insects.

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    12/02/15 | Heterosynaptic plasticity underlies aversive olfactory learning in Drosophila
    Hige T, Aso Y, Modi M, Rubin GM, Turner GC
    Neuron. 2015 Dec 2;88(5):985-98. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.003

    Although associative learning has been localized to specific brain areas in many animals, identifying the underlying synaptic processes in vivo has been difficult. Here, we provide the first demonstration of long-term synaptic plasticity at the output site of the Drosophila mushroom body. Pairing an odor with activation of specific dopamine neurons induces both learning and odor-specific synaptic depression. The plasticity induction strictly depends on the temporal order of the two stimuli, replicating the logical requirement for associative learning. Furthermore, we reveal that dopamine action is confined to and distinct across different anatomical compartments of the mushroom body lobes. Finally, we find that overlap between sparse representations of different odors defines both stimulus specificity of the plasticity and generalizability of associative memories across odors. Thus, the plasticity we find here not only manifests important features of associative learning but also provides general insights into how a sparse sensory code is read out.

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