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Neuromodulatory connectivity defines the structure of a behavioral neural network

  1. Feici Diao
  2. Amicia D Elliott
  3. Fengqiu Diao
  4. Sarav Shah
  5. Benjamin H White  Is a corresponding author
  1. National Institute of Mental Health, United States
  2. National Institute of General Medical Sciences, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 8
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Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e29797 doi: 10.7554/eLife.29797

Abstract

Neural networks are typically defined by their synaptic connectivity, yet synaptic wiring diagrams often provide limited insight into network function. This is due partly to the importance of non-synaptic communication by neuromodulators, which can dynamically reconfigure circuit activity to alter its output. Here we systematically map the patterns of neuromodulatory connectivity in a network that governs a developmentally critical behavioral sequence in Drosophila. This sequence, which mediates pupal ecdysis, is governed by the serial release of several key factors, which act both somatically as hormones and within the brain as neuromodulators. By identifying and characterizing the functions of the neuronal targets of these factors, we find that they define hierarchically organized layers of the network controlling the pupal ecdysis sequence: a modular input layer, an intermediate central pattern generating layer, and a motor output layer. Mapping neuromodulatory connections in this system thus defines the functional architecture of the network.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Feici Diao

    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Amicia D Elliott

    National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Fengqiu Diao

    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Sarav Shah

    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Benjamin H White

    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, United States
    For correspondence
    benjaminwhite@mail.nih.gov
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0612-8075

Funding

National Institute of Mental Health (MH002800-15)

  • Benjamin H White

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (FI2 GM117582)

  • Amicia D Elliott

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 21, 2017
  2. Accepted: November 21, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 22, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: December 7, 2017 (version 2)

Copyright

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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