Visual projection neurons (VPNs) provide an anatomical connection between early visual processing and higher brain regions. Here we characterize lobula columnar (LC) cells, a class of Drosophila VPNs that project to distinct central brain structures called optic glomeruli. We anatomically describe 22 different LC types and show that, for several types, optogenetic activation in freely moving flies evokes specific behaviors. The activation phenotypes of two LC types closely resemble natural avoidance behaviors triggered by a visual loom. In vivo two-photon calcium imaging reveals that these LC types respond to looming stimuli, while another type does not, but instead responds to the motion of a small object. Activation of LC neurons on only one side of the brain can result in attractive or aversive turning behaviors depending on the cell type. Our results indicate that LC neurons convey information on the presence and location of visual features relevant for specific behaviors.
- Ming Wu
- Aljoscha Nern
- W. Ryan Williamson
- Mai M Morimoto
- Michael B Reiser
- Gwyneth M Card
- Gerald M Rubin
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Kristin Scott, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2016, Wu et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease characterised by immune cell infiltration resulting in lesions that preferentially affect periventricular areas of the brain. Despite research efforts to define the role of various immune cells in MS pathogenesis, the focus has been on a few immune cell populations while full-spectrum analysis, encompassing others such as natural killer (NK) cells, has not been performed. Here, we used single-cell mass cytometry (CyTOF) to profile the immune landscape of brain periventricular areas – septum and choroid plexus – and of the circulation from donors with MS, dementia and controls without neurological disease. Using a 37-marker panel, we revealed the infiltration of T cells and antibody-secreting cells in periventricular brain regions and identified a novel NK cell signature specific to MS. CD56bright NK cells were accumulated in the septum of MS donors and displayed an activated and migratory phenotype, similar to that of CD56bright NK cells in the circulation. We validated this signature by multiplex immunohistochemistry and found that the number of NK cells with high expression of granzyme K, typical of the CD56bright subset, was increased in both periventricular lesions and the choroid plexus of donors with MS. Together, our multi-tissue single-cell data shows that CD56bright NK cells accumulate in the periventricular brain regions of MS patients, bringing NK cells back to the spotlight of MS pathology.
Dynamics of excitable cells and networks depend on the membrane time constant, set by membrane resistance and capacitance. Whereas pharmacological and genetic manipulations of ionic conductances of excitable membranes are routine in electrophysiology, experimental control over capacitance remains a challenge. Here, we present capacitance clamp, an approach that allows electrophysiologists to mimic a modified capacitance in biological neurons via an unconventional application of the dynamic clamp technique. We first demonstrate the feasibility to quantitatively modulate capacitance in a mathematical neuron model and then confirm the functionality of capacitance clamp in in vitro experiments in granule cells of rodent dentate gyrus with up to threefold virtual capacitance changes. Clamping of capacitance thus constitutes a novel technique to probe and decipher mechanisms of neuronal signaling in ways that were so far inaccessible to experimental electrophysiology.