Apr 18, 2020

Structured sampling of olfactory input by the fly mushroom body

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Z. ZhengDavi D. Bock


Associative memory formation and recall in the adult fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is subserved by the mushroom body (MB). Upon arrival in the MB, sensory information undergoes a profound transformation. Olfactory projection neurons (PNs), the main MB input, exhibit broadly tuned, sustained, and stereotyped responses to odorants; in contrast, their postsynaptic targets in the MB, the Kenyon cells (KCs), are nonstereotyped, narrowly tuned, and only briefly responsive to odorants. Theory and experiment have suggested that this transformation is implemented by random connectivity between KCs and PNs. However, this hypothesis has been challenging to test, given the difficulty of mapping synaptic connections between large numbers of neurons to achieve a unified view of neuronal network structure. Here we used a recent whole-brain electron microscopy (EM) volume of the adult fruit fly to map large numbers of PN-to-KC connections at synaptic resolution. Comparison of the observed connectome to precisely defined null models revealed unexpected network structure, in which a subset of food-responsive PN types converge on individual downstream KCs more frequently than expected. The connectivity bias is consistent with the neurogeometr...Continue Reading

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