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18 Janelia Publications

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    07/27/20 | A programmable sequence of reporters for lineage analysis.
    Garcia-Marques J, Espinosa-Medina I, Ku K, Yang C, Koyama M, Yu H, Lee T
    Nature Neuroscience. 2020 Jul 27:. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0676-9

    We present CLADES (cell lineage access driven by an edition sequence), a technology for cell lineage studies based on CRISPR-Cas9 techniques. CLADES relies on a system of genetic switches to activate and inactivate reporter genes in a predetermined order. Targeting CLADES to progenitor cells allows the progeny to inherit a sequential cascade of reporters, thereby coupling birth order to reporter expression. This system, which can also be temporally induced by heat shock, enables the temporal resolution of lineage development and can therefore be used to deconstruct an extended cell lineage by tracking the reporters expressed in the progeny. When targeted to the germ line, the same cascade progresses across animal generations, predominantly marking each generation with the corresponding combination of reporters. CLADES therefore offers an innovative strategy for making programmable cascades of genes that can be used for genetic manipulation or to record serial biological events.

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    04/07/20 | Conservation and divergence of related neuronal lineages in the central brain.
    Lee Y, Yang C, Miyares RL, Huang Y, He Y, Ren Q, Chen H, Kawase T, Ito M, Otsuna H, Sugino K, Aso Y, Ito K, Lee T
    eLife. 2020 Apr 07;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.53518

    Wiring a complex brain requires many neurons with intricate cell specificity, generated by a limited number of neural stem cells. central brain lineages are a predetermined series of neurons, born in a specific order. To understand how lineage identity translates to neuron morphology, we mapped 18 central brain lineages. While we found large aggregate differences between lineages, we also discovered shared patterns of morphological diversification. Lineage identity plus Notch-mediated sister fate govern primary neuron trajectories, whereas temporal fate diversifies terminal elaborations. Further, morphological neuron types may arise repeatedly, interspersed with other types. Despite the complexity, related lineages produce similar neuron types in comparable temporal patterns. Different stem cells even yield two identical series of dopaminergic neuron types, but with unrelated sister neurons. Together, these phenomena suggest that straightforward rules drive incredible neuronal complexity, and that large changes in morphology can result from relatively simple fating mechanisms.

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    03/23/20 | Recurrent architecture for adaptive regulation of learning in the insect brain.
    Eschbach C, Fushiki A, Winding M, Schneider-Mizell CM, Shao M, Arruda R, Eichler K, Valdes-Aleman J, Ohyama T, Thum AS, Gerber B, Fetter RD, Truman JW, Litwin-Kumar A, Cardona A, Zlatic M, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    Nature Neuroscience. 2020 Mar 23;23(4):544-55. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0607-9

    Dopaminergic neurons (DANs) drive learning across the animal kingdom, but the upstream circuits that regulate their activity and thereby learning remain poorly understood. We provide a synaptic-resolution connectome of the circuitry upstream of all DANs in a learning center, the mushroom body of Drosophila larva. We discover afferent sensory pathways and a large population of neurons that provide feedback from mushroom body output neurons and link distinct memory systems (aversive and appetitive). We combine this with functional studies of DANs and their presynaptic partners and with comprehensive circuit modeling. We find that DANs compare convergent feedback from aversive and appetitive systems, which enables the computation of integrated predictions that may improve future learning. Computational modeling reveals that the discovered feedback motifs increase model flexibility and performance on learning tasks. Our study provides the most detailed view to date of biological circuit motifs that support associative learning.

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    03/18/20 | CAMIO: a transgenic CRISPR pipeline to create diverse targeted genome deletions in Drosophila.
    Chen H, Marques JG, Sugino K, Wei D, Miyares RL, Lee T
    Nucleic Acids Research. 2020 Mar 18:. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa177

    The genome is the blueprint for an organism. Interrogating the genome, especially locating critical cis-regulatory elements, requires deletion analysis. This is conventionally performed using synthetic constructs, making it cumbersome and non-physiological. Thus, we created Cas9-mediated Arrayed Mutagenesis of Individual Offspring (CAMIO) to achieve comprehensive analysis of a targeted region of native DNA. CAMIO utilizes CRISPR that is spatially restricted to generate independent deletions in the intact Drosophila genome. Controlled by recombination, a single guide RNA is stochastically chosen from a set targeting a specific DNA region. Combining two sets increases variability, leading to either indels at 1-2 target sites or inter-target deletions. Cas9 restriction to male germ cells elicits autonomous double-strand-break repair, consequently creating offspring with diverse mutations. Thus, from a single population cross, we can obtain a deletion matrix covering a large expanse of DNA at both coarse and fine resolution. We demonstrate the ease and power of CAMIO by mapping 5'UTR sequences crucial for chinmo's post-transcriptional regulation.

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    03/02/20 | Neural circuitry linking mating and egg laying in Drosophila females.
    Wang F, Wang K, Forknall N, Patrick C, Yang T, Parekh R, Bock D, Dickson BJ
    Nature. 2020 Mar 02;579(7797):101-105. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2055-9

    Mating and egg laying are tightly cooordinated events in the reproductive life of all oviparous females. Oviposition is typically rare in virgin females but is initiated after copulation. Here we identify the neural circuitry that links egg laying to mating status in Drosophila melanogaster. Activation of female-specific oviposition descending neurons (oviDNs) is necessary and sufficient for egg laying, and is equally potent in virgin and mated females. After mating, sex peptide-a protein from the male seminal fluid-triggers many behavioural and physiological changes in the female, including the onset of egg laying. Sex peptide is detected by sensory neurons in the uterus, and silences these neurons and their postsynaptic ascending neurons in the abdominal ganglion. We show that these abdominal ganglion neurons directly activate the female-specific pC1 neurons. GABAergic (γ-aminobutyric-acid-releasing) oviposition inhibitory neurons (oviINs) mediate feed-forward inhibition from pC1 neurons to both oviDNs and their major excitatory input, the oviposition excitatory neurons (oviENs). By attenuating the abdominal ganglion inputs to pC1 neurons and oviINs, sex peptide disinhibits oviDNs to enable egg laying after mating. This circuitry thus coordinates the two key events in female reproduction: mating and egg laying.

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    02/17/20 | Behavioral features of motivated response to alcohol in Drosophila.
    Catalano JL, Mei N, Azanchi R, Song S, Blackwater T, Heberlein U, Kaun KR
    bioRxiv. 2020 Feb 17:

    Animals avoid predators and find the best food and mates by learning from the consequences of their behavior. However, reinforcers are not always uniquely appetitive or aversive but can have complex properties. Most intoxicating substances fall within this category; provoking aversive sensory and physiological reactions while simultaneously inducing overwhelming appetitive properties. Here we describe the subtle behavioral features associated with continued seeking for alcohol despite aversive consequences. We developed an automated runway apparatus to measure how Drosophila respond to consecutive exposures of a volatilized substance. Behavior within this Behavioral Expression of Ethanol Reinforcement Runway (BEER Run) demonstrated a defined shift from aversive to appetitive responses to volatilized ethanol. Behavioral metrics attained by combining computer vision and machine learning methods, reveal that a subset of 9 classified behaviors and component behavioral features associate with this shift. We propose this combination of 9 be

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    02/14/20 | Identifying neural substrates of competitive interactions and sequence transitions during mechanosensory responses in Drosophila.
    Masson J, Laurent F, Cardona A, Barre C, Skatchkovsky N, Zlatic M, Jovanic T
    PLoS Genetics. 2020 Feb 14;16(2):e1008589. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008589

    Nervous systems have the ability to select appropriate actions and action sequences in response to sensory cues. The circuit mechanisms by which nervous systems achieve choice, stability and transitions between behaviors are still incompletely understood. To identify neurons and brain areas involved in controlling these processes, we combined a large-scale neuronal inactivation screen with automated action detection in response to a mechanosensory cue in Drosophila larva. We analyzed behaviors from 2.9x105 larvae and identified 66 candidate lines for mechanosensory responses out of which 25 for competitive interactions between actions. We further characterize in detail the neurons in these lines and analyzed their connectivity using electron microscopy. We found the neurons in the mechanosensory network are located in different regions of the nervous system consistent with a distributed model of sensorimotor decision-making. These findings provide the basis for understanding how selection and transition between behaviors are controlled by the nervous system.

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    01/15/20 | A genetic, genomic, and computational resource for exploring neural circuit function.
    Davis FP, Nern A, Picard S, Reiser MB, Rubin GM, Eddy SR, Henry GL
    eLife. 2020 Jan 15;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50901

    The anatomy of many neural circuits is being characterized with increasing resolution, but their molecular properties remain mostly unknown. Here, we characterize gene expression patterns in distinct neural cell types of the visual system using genetic lines to access individual cell types, the TAPIN-seq method to measure their transcriptomes, and a probabilistic method to interpret these measurements. We used these tools to build a resource of high-resolution transcriptomes for 100 driver lines covering 67 cell types, available at http://www.opticlobe.com. Combining these transcriptomes with recently reported connectomes helps characterize how information is transmitted and processed across a range of scales, from individual synapses to circuit pathways. We describe examples that include identifying neurotransmitters, including cases of apparent co-release, generating functional hypotheses based on receptor expression, as well as identifying strong commonalities between different cell types.

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    01/03/20 | The neuropeptide Drosulfakinin regulates social isolation-induced aggression in Drosophila.
    Agrawal P, Kao D, Chung P, Looger LL
    Journal of Experimental Biology. 2020 Jan 03;223(2):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.207407

    Social isolation strongly modulates behavior across the animal kingdom. We utilized the fruit fly to study social isolation-driven changes in animal behavior and gene expression in the brain. RNA-seq identified several head-expressed genes strongly responding to social isolation or enrichment. Of particular interest, social isolation downregulated expression of the gene encoding the neuropeptide (), the homologue of vertebrate cholecystokinin (CCK), which is critical for many mammalian social behaviors. knockdown significantly increased social isolation-induced aggression. Genetic activation or silencing of neurons each similarly increased isolation-driven aggression. Our results suggest a U-shaped dependence of social isolation-induced aggressive behavior on signaling, similar to the actions of many neuromodulators in other contexts.

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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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