We present in vivo single-cell FRET measurements in the Escherichia coli chemotaxis system that reveal pervasive signaling variability, both across cells in isogenic populations and within individual cells over time. We quantify cell-to-cell variability of adaptation, ligand response, as well as steady-state output level, and analyze the role of network design in shaping this diversity from gene expression noise. In the absence of changes in gene expression, we find that single cells demonstrate strong temporal fluctuations. We provide evidence that such signaling noise can arise from at least two sources: (i) stochastic activities of adaptation enzymes, and (ii) receptor-kinase dynamics in the absence of adaptation. We demonstrate that under certain conditions, (ii) can generate giant fluctuations that drive signaling activity of the entire cell into a stochastic two-state switching regime. Our findings underscore the importance of molecular noise, arising not only in gene expression but also in protein networks.
- Thomas S Shimizu
- Thomas S Shimizu
- Thierry Emonet
- Thomas S Shimizu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Naama Barkai, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
© 2017, Keegstra 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.
The projection neurons (PNs), reconstructed from electron microscope (EM) images of the Drosophila olfactory system, offer a detailed view of neuronal anatomy, providing glimpses into information flow in the brain. About 150 uPNs constituting 58 glomeruli in the antennal lobe (AL) are bundled together in the axonal extension, routing the olfactory signal received at AL to mushroom body (MB) calyx and lateral horn (LH). Here we quantify the neuronal organization in terms of the inter-PN distances and examine its relationship with the odor types sensed by Drosophila. The homotypic uPNs that constitute glomeruli are tightly bundled and stereotyped in position throughout the neuropils, even though the glomerular PN organization in AL is no longer sustained in the higher brain center. Instead, odor-type dependent clusters consisting of multiple homotypes innervate the MB calyx and LH. Pheromone-encoding and hygro/thermo-sensing homotypes are spatially segregated in MB calyx, whereas two distinct clusters of food-related homotypes are found in LH in addition to the segregation of pheromone-encoding and hygro/thermo-sensing homotypes. We find that there are statistically significant associations between the spatial organization among a group of homotypic uPNs and certain stereotyped olfactory responses. Additionally, the signals from some of the tightly bundled homotypes converge to a specific group of lateral horn neurons (LHNs), which indicates that homotype (or odor type) specific integration of signals occurs at the synaptic interface between PNs and LHNs. Our findings suggest that before neural computation in the inner brain, some of the olfactory information are already encoded in the spatial organization of uPNs, illuminating that a certain degree of labeled-line strategy is at work in the Drosophila olfactory system.
Early predator detection is a key component of the predator-prey arms race and has driven the evolution of multiple animal hearing systems. Katydids (Insecta) have sophisticated ears, each consisting of paired tympana on each foreleg that receive sound both externally, through the air, and internally via a narrowing ear canal running through the leg from an acoustic spiracle on the thorax. These ears are pressure-time difference receivers capable of sensitive and accurate directional hearing across a wide frequency range. Many katydid species have cuticular pinnae which form cavities around the outer tympanal surfaces, but their function is unknown. We investigated pinnal function in the katydid Copiphora gorgonensis by combining experimental biophysics and numerical modelling using 3D ear geometries. We found that the pinnae in C. gorgonensis do not assist in directional hearing for conspecific call frequencies, but instead act as ultrasound detectors. Pinnae induced large sound pressure gains (20–30 dB) that enhanced sound detection at high ultrasonic frequencies (>60 kHz), matching the echolocation range of co-occurring insectivorous gleaning bats. These findings were supported by behavioural and neural audiograms and pinnal cavity resonances from live specimens, and comparisons with the pinnal mechanics of sympatric katydid species, which together suggest that katydid pinnae primarily evolved for the enhanced detection of predatory bats.