During postembryonic development, the nervous system must adapt to a growing body. How changes in neuronal structure and connectivity contribute to the maintenance of appropriate circuit function remains unclear. In a previous paper (Schneider-Mizell et al., 2016), we measured the cellular neuroanatomy underlying synaptic connectivity in Drosophila. Here, we examined how neuronal morphology and connectivity change between 1st instar and 3rd instar larval stages using serial section electron microscopy. We reconstructed nociceptive circuits in a larva of each stage and found consistent topographically arranged connectivity between identified neurons. Five-fold increases in each size, number of terminal dendritic branches, and total number of synaptic inputs were accompanied by cell-type specific connectivity changes that preserved the fraction of total synaptic input associated with each presynaptic partner. We propose that precise patterns of structural growth act to conserve the computational function of a circuit, for example determining the location of a dangerous stimulus.
- Stephan Gerhard
- Ingrid Andrade
- Richard D Fetter
- Albert Cardona
- Casey M Schneider-Mizell
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2017, Gerhard et al.
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