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Optogenetic dissection of descending behavioral control in Drosophila

  1. Jessica Cande
  2. Shigehiro Namiki
  3. Jirui Qiu
  4. Wyatt Korff
  5. Gwyneth M Card
  6. Josh W Shaevitz
  7. David L Stern  Is a corresponding author
  8. Gordon J Berman  Is a corresponding author
  1. Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States
  2. Emory University, United States
  3. Princeton University, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 11
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e34275 doi: 10.7554/eLife.34275

Abstract

In most animals, the brain makes behavioral decisions that are transmitted by descending neurons to the nerve cord circuitry that produces behaviors. In insects, only a few descending neurons have been associated with specific behaviors. To explore how descending neurons control an insect's movements, we developed a novel method to systematically assay the behavioral effects of activating individual neurons on freely behaving terrestrial D. melanogaster. We calculated a two-dimensional representation of the entire behavior space explored by these flies and we associated descending neurons with specific behaviors by identifying regions of this space that were visited with increased frequency during optogenetic activation. Applying this approach across a large collection of descending neurons, we found that (1) activation of most of the descending neurons drove stereotyped behaviors, (2) in many cases multiple descending neurons activated similar behaviors, and (3) optogenetically-activated behaviors were often dependent on the behavioral state prior to activation.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jessica Cande

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Shigehiro Namiki

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1559-799X
  3. Jirui Qiu

    Department of Physics, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Wyatt Korff

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8396-1533
  5. Gwyneth M Card

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7679-3639
  6. Josh W Shaevitz

    Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. David L Stern

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    For correspondence
    sternd@janelia.hhmi.org
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1847-6483
  8. Gordon J Berman

    Department of Physics, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
    For correspondence
    gordon.berman@emory.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3588-7820

Funding

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Jessica Cande
  • Shigehiro Namiki
  • Wyatt Korff
  • Gwyneth M Card
  • David L Stern

National Institutes of Health

  • Josh W Shaevitz
  • Gordon J Berman

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

Reviewing Editor

  1. Kristin Scott, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: December 12, 2017
  2. Accepted: June 3, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 26, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 4, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Cande 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.

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