Optogenetic dissection of descending behavioral control in Drosophila

ELife
Jessica CandeGordon J Berman

Abstract

In most animals, the brain makes behavioral decisions that are transmitted by descending neurons to the nerve cord circuitry that produces behaviors. In insects, only a few descending neurons have been associated with specific behaviors. To explore how descending neurons control an insect's movements, we developed a novel method to systematically assay the behavioral effects of activating individual neurons on freely behaving terrestrial D. melanogaster. We calculated a two-dimensional representation of the entire behavior space explored by these flies, and we associated descending neurons with specific behaviors by identifying regions of this space that were visited with increased frequency during optogenetic activation. Applying this approach across a large collection of descending neurons, we found that (1) activation of most of the descending neurons drove stereotyped behaviors, (2) in many cases multiple descending neurons activated similar behaviors, and (3) optogenetically activated behaviors were often dependent on the behavioral state prior to activation.

Associated Datasets

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Citations

Sep 12, 2019·Nature Communications·Wagner Steuer CostaAlexander Gottschalk
Jun 27, 2018·ELife·Matthieu Louis, Julie H Simpson
Feb 21, 2019·Annual Review of Neuroscience·Christa A BakerMala Murthy
Mar 13, 2020·The Journal of Experimental Biology·Fabian SteinbeckPaul Graham
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Nov 4, 2020·ELife·Catherine E SchretterGerald M Rubin
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Jul 8, 2021·Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences : CMLS·Wen Kin LimNicholas S Tolwinski

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
dissection
transgenic

Software Mentioned

Labview
NI
CsChrimson
MAX

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