Neurosecretory centers in animal brains use peptidergic signaling to influence physiology and behavior. Understanding neurosecretory center function requires mapping cell types, synapses, and peptidergic networks. Here we use transmission electron microscopy and gene expression mapping to analyze the synaptic and peptidergic connectome of an entire neurosecretory center. We reconstructed 78 neurosecretory neurons and mapped their synaptic connectivity in the brain of larval Platynereis dumerilii, a marine annelid. These neurons form an anterior neurosecretory center expressing many neuropeptides, including hypothalamic peptide orthologs and their receptors. Analysis of peptide-receptor pairs in spatially mapped single-cell transcriptome data revealed sparsely connected networks linking specific neuronal subsets. We experimentally analyzed one peptide-receptor pair and found that a neuropeptide can couple neurosecretory and synaptic brain signaling. Our study uncovered extensive networks of peptidergic signaling within a neurosecretory center and its connection to the synaptic brain.
- Elizabeth A Williams
- Csaba Verasztó
- Sanja Jasek
- Markus Conzelmann
- Philipp Bauknecht
- Elizabeth A Williams
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Oliver Hobert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2017, Williams 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.
Postsynaptic mitochondria are critical for the development, plasticity, and maintenance of synaptic inputs. However, their relationship to synaptic structure and functional activity is unknown. We examined a correlative dataset from ferret visual cortex with in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of dendritic spines during visual stimulation and electron microscopy reconstructions of spine ultrastructure, investigating mitochondrial abundance near functionally and structurally characterized spines. Surprisingly, we found no correlation to structural measures of synaptic strength. Instead, we found that mitochondria are positioned near spines with orientation preferences that are dissimilar to the somatic preference. Additionally, we found that mitochondria are positioned near groups of spines with heterogeneous orientation preferences. For a subset of spines with a mitochondrion in the head or neck, synapses were larger and exhibited greater selectivity to visual stimuli than those without a mitochondrion. Our data suggest mitochondria are not necessarily positioned to support the energy needs of strong spines, but rather support the structurally and functionally diverse inputs innervating the basal dendrites of cortical neurons.
Several discrete groups of feeding-regulated neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (nucleus tractus solitarius; NTS) suppress food intake, including avoidance-promoting neurons that express Cck (NTSCck cells) and distinct Lepr- and Calcr-expressing neurons (NTSLepr and NTSCalcr cells, respectively) that suppress food intake without promoting avoidance. To test potential synergies among these cell groups we manipulated multiple NTS cell populations simultaneously. We found that activating multiple sets of NTS neurons (e.g., NTSLepr plus NTSCalcr (NTSLC), or NTSLC plus NTSCck (NTSLCK)) suppressed feeding more robustly than activating single populations. While activating groups of cells that include NTSCck neurons promoted conditioned taste avoidance (CTA), NTSLC activation produced no CTA despite abrogating feeding. Thus, the ability to promote CTA formation represents a dominant effect but activating multiple non-aversive populations augments the suppression of food intake without provoking avoidance. Furthermore, silencing multiple NTS neuron groups augmented food intake and body weight to a greater extent than silencing single populations, consistent with the notion that each of these NTS neuron populations plays crucial and cumulative roles in the control of energy balance. We found that silencing NTSLCK neurons failed to blunt the weight-loss response to vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and that feeding activated many non-NTSLCK neurons, however, suggesting that as-yet undefined NTS cell types must make additional contributions to the restraint of feeding.