Doctor of Philosophy, Westfalische Wilhelms Universitat (2009)
Thomas Clandinin, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
In the visual system, peripheral processing circuits are often tuned to specific stimulus features. How this selectivity arises and how these circuits are organized to inform specific visual behaviors is incompletely understood. Using forward genetics and quantitative behavioral studies, we uncover an input channel to motion detecting circuitry in Drosophila. The second-order neuron L3 acts combinatorially with two previously known inputs, L1 and L2, to inform circuits specialized to detect moving light and dark edges. In vivo calcium imaging of L3, combined with neuronal silencing experiments, suggests a neural mechanism to achieve selectivity for moving dark edges. We further demonstrate that different innate behaviors, turning and forward movement, can be independently modulated by visual motion. These two behaviors make use of different combinations of input channels. Such modular use of input channels to achieve feature extraction and behavioral specialization likely represents a general principle in sensory systems.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.04.029
View details for Web of Science ID 000321802000013
View details for PubMedID 23849199
Chemotaxis, the ability to direct movements according to chemical cues in the environment, is important for the survival of most organisms. The vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, displays robust olfactory aversion and attraction, but how these behaviors are executed via changes in locomotion remains poorly understood. In particular, it is not clear whether aversion and attraction bidirectionally modulate a shared circuit or recruit distinct circuits for execution.Using a quantitative behavioral assay, we determined that both aversive and attractive odorants modulate the initiation and direction of turns but display distinct kinematics. Using genetic tools to perturb these behaviors, we identified specific populations of neurons required for aversion, but not for attraction. Inactivation of these populations of cells affected the completion of aversive turns, but not their initiation. Optogenetic activation of the same populations of cells triggered a locomotion pattern resembling aversive turns. Perturbations in both the ellipsoid body and the ventral nerve cord, two regions involved in motor control, resulted in defects in aversion.Aversive chemotaxis in vinegar flies triggers ethologically appropriate kinematics distinct from those of attractive chemotaxis and requires specific motor-related neurons.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000321605600017
View details for PubMedID 23770185
Dopamine is synonymous with reward and motivation in mammals. However, only recently has dopamine been linked to motivated behaviour and rewarding reinforcement in fruitflies. Instead, octopamine has historically been considered to be the signal for reward in insects. Here we show, using temporal control of neural function in Drosophila, that only short-term appetitive memory is reinforced by octopamine. Moreover, octopamine-dependent memory formation requires signalling through dopamine neurons. Part of the octopamine signal requires the ?-adrenergic-like OAMB receptor in an identified subset of mushroom-body-targeted dopamine neurons. Octopamine triggers an increase in intracellular calcium in these dopamine neurons, and their direct activation can substitute for sugar to form appetitive memory, even in flies lacking octopamine. Analysis of the ?-adrenergic-like OCT?2R receptor reveals that octopamine-dependent reinforcement also requires an interaction with dopamine neurons that control appetitive motivation. These data indicate that sweet taste engages a distributed octopamine signal that reinforces memory through discrete subsets of mushroom-body-targeted dopamine neurons. In addition, they reconcile previous findings with octopamine and dopamine and suggest that reinforcement systems in flies are more similar to mammals than previously thought.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature11614
View details for Web of Science ID 000312488200057
View details for PubMedID 23103875
Rhythmic motor behaviors such as feeding are driven by neural networks that can be modulated by external stimuli and internal states. In Drosophila, ingestion is accomplished by a pump that draws fluid into the esophagus. Here we examine how pumping is regulated and characterize motor neurons innervating the pump. Frequency of pumping is not affected by sucrose concentration or hunger but is altered by fluid viscosity. Inactivating motor neurons disrupts pumping and ingestion, whereas activating them elicits arrhythmic pumping. These motor neurons respond to taste stimuli and show prolonged activity to palatable substances. This work describes an important component of the neural circuit for feeding in Drosophila and is a step toward understanding the rhythmic activity producing ingestion.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1120305109
View details for Web of Science ID 000303246100079
View details for PubMedID 22474379
Tissue-specific gene expression using the upstream activating sequence (UAS)–GAL4 binary system has facilitated genetic dissection of many biological processes in Drosophila melanogaster. Refining GAL4 expression patterns or independently manipulating multiple cell populations using additional binary systems are common experimental goals. To simplify these processes, we developed a convertible genetic platform, the integrase swappable in vivo targeting element (InSITE) system. This approach allows GAL4 to be replaced with any other sequence, placing different genetic effectors under the control of the same regulatory elements. Using InSITE, GAL4 can be replaced with LexA or QF, allowing an expression pattern to be repurposed. GAL4 can also be replaced with GAL80 or split-GAL4 hemi-drivers, allowing intersectional approaches to refine expression patterns. The exchanges occur through efficient in vivo manipulations, making it possible to generate many swaps in parallel. This system is modular, allowing future genetic tools to be easily incorporated into the existing framework.
View details for DOI 10.1038/NMETH.1561
View details for Web of Science ID 000287734800014
View details for PubMedID 21473015
Trans-cellular communication relies on a complex interplay of cell-cell adhesion and signaling induced by diffusible molecules. This is particularly evident for neuron-glia interaction in the nervous system. The small, relative number of glial cells in combination with well-established genetic techniques predestines Drosophila as a powerful model to dissect the molecular basis of neuron-glia interaction. We are discussing homophilic and heterophilic adhesion systems that ensure proper interaction of neurons and glial cells as well as prominent signaling cascades regulating various aspects of coordinated neuron-glial development. The combination of these results in instructive signals governing proper nervous system development and function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.conb.2010.08.011
View details for Web of Science ID 000288876100003
View details for PubMedID 20832289
A complex nervous system comprises two distinct cell types, neurons and glial cells, whose development, differentiation and function is mutually interdependent. Many studies contributed to uncovering the basic mechanisms determining neuronal and glial fate and we are progressing enormously towards an understanding of how neurons interconnect to form intricate neuronal networks. However, the mechanisms used to couple neuronal and glial development remain largely obscure. Here we advocate the usefulness of the developing Drosophila compound eye as a new model to study the complex relationship between glial and neuronal cells.
View details for Web of Science ID 000275820100012
View details for PubMedID 20160502
Ensheathment of axons by glial membranes is a key feature of complex nervous systems ensuring the separation of single axons or axonal fascicles. Nevertheless, the molecules that mediate the recognition and specific adhesion of glial and axonal membranes are largely unknown. We use the Drosophila midline of the embryonic central nervous system as a model to investigate these neuron glia interactions. During development, the midline glial cells acquire close contact to commissural axons and eventually extend processes into the commissures to wrap individual axon fascicles. Here, we show that this wrapping of axons depends on the interaction of the neuronal transmembrane protein Neurexin IV with the glial Ig-domain protein Wrapper. Although Neurexin IV has been previously described to be an essential component of epithelial septate junctions (SJ), we show that its function in mediating glial wrapping at the CNS midline is independent of SJ formation. Moreover, differential splicing generates two different Neurexin IV isoforms. One mRNA is enriched in septate junction-forming tissues, whereas the other mRNA is expressed by neurons and recruited to the midline by Wrapper. Although both Neurexin IV isoforms are able to bind Wrapper, the neuronal isoform has a higher affinity for Wrapper. We conclude that Neurexin IV can mediate different adhesive cell-cell contacts depending on the isoforms expressed and the context of its interaction partners.
View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.032847
View details for Web of Science ID 000264402400004
View details for PubMedID 19261699
The function of a complex nervous system depends on an intricate interplay between neuronal and glial cell types. One of the many functions of glial cells is to provide an efficient insulation of the nervous system and thereby allowing a fine tuned homeostasis of ions and other small molecules. Here, we present a detailed cellular analysis of the glial cell complement constituting the blood-brain barrier in Drosophila. Using electron microscopic analysis and single cell-labeling experiments, we characterize different glial cell layers at the surface of the nervous system, the perineurial glial layer, the subperineurial glial layer, the wrapping glial cell layer, and a thick layer of extracellular matrix, the neural lamella. To test the functional roles of these sheaths we performed a series of dye penetration experiments in the nervous systems of wild-type and mutant embryos. Comparing the kinetics of uptake of different sized fluorescently labeled dyes in different mutants allowed to conclude that most of the barrier function is mediated by the septate junctions formed by the subperineurial cells, whereas the perineurial glial cell layer and the neural lamella contribute to barrier selectivity against much larger particles (i.e., the size of proteins). We further compare the requirements of different septate junction components for the integrity of the blood-brain barrier and provide evidence that two of the six Claudin-like proteins found in Drosophila are needed for normal blood-brain barrier function.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4367-07.2008
View details for Web of Science ID 000252432700004
View details for PubMedID 18199760
Any complex nervous system is made out of two major cell types, neurons and glial cells. A hallmark of glial cells is their pronounced ability to migrate. En route to their final destinations, glial cells are generally guided by neuronal signals. Here we show that in the developing visual system of Drosophila glial cell migration is largely controlled by glial-glial interactions and occurs independently of axonal contact. Differentiation into wrapping glia is initiated close to the morphogenetic furrow. Using single cell labeling experiments we identified six distinct glial cell types in the eye disc. The migratory glial population is separated from the wrapping glial cells by the so-called carpet cells, extraordinary large glial cells, each covering a surface area of approximately 10,000 epithelial cells. Subsequent cell ablation experiments demonstrate that the carpet glia regulates glial migration in the eye disc epithelium and suggest a new model underlying glial migration and differentiation in the developing visual system.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3583-07.2007
View details for Web of Science ID 000251296700010
View details for PubMedID 18045907
In complex organisms the nervous system comprises two cell types: neurons and glial cells. Their correct interplay is of crucial importance during both the development of the nervous system and for later function of the nervous system. In recent years tools have been developed for Drosophila that enable genetic approaches to understanding glial development and differentiation. Focusing on peripheral glial cells we first summarize wild-type development, then introduce some of the relevant genes that have been identified. Despite obvious differences between Drosophila and mammalian glial cells, the molecular machinery that controls terminal differentiation appears well conserved.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1740925X07000622
View details for Web of Science ID 000259179400004
View details for PubMedID 18634576