Systematic analysis of rich behavioral recordings is being used to uncover how circuits encode complex behaviors. Here we apply this approach to embryos. What are the first embryonic behaviors and how do they evolve as early neurodevelopment ensues? To address these questions, we present a systematic description of behavioral maturation for Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. Posture libraries were built using a genetically encoded motion capture suit imaged with light-sheet microscopy and annotated using custom tracking software. Analysis of cell trajectories, postures, and behavioral motifs revealed a stereotyped developmental progression. Early movement is dominated by flipping between dorsal and ventral coiling, which gradually slows into a period of reduced motility. Late-stage embryos exhibit sinusoidal waves of dorsoventral bends, prolonged bouts of directed motion, and a rhythmic pattern of pausing, which we designate slow wave twitch (SWT). Synaptic transmission is required for late-stage motion but not for early flipping nor the intervening inactive phase. A high-throughput behavioral assay and calcium imaging revealed that SWT is elicited by the rhythmic activity of a quiescence-promoting neuron (RIS). Similar periodic quiescent states are seen prenatally in diverse animals and may play an important role in promoting normal developmental outcomes.
- Evan L Ardiel
- Andrew Lauziere
- Joshua M Kaplan
- Joshua M Kaplan
- Hari Shroff
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Matthieu Louis, University of California, Santa Barbara, United States
- Preprint posted: December 10, 2021 (view preprint)
- Received: January 6, 2022
- Accepted: August 1, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: August 5, 2022 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: August 8, 2022 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: September 5, 2022 (version 3)
- Version of Record updated: September 13, 2022 (version 4)
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Complex behaviors depend on the coordinated activity of neural ensembles in interconnected brain areas. The behavioral function of such coordination, often measured as co-fluctuations in neural activity across areas, is poorly understood. One hypothesis is that rapidly varying co-fluctuations may be a signature of moment-by-moment task-relevant influences of one area on another. We tested this possibility for error-corrective adaptation of birdsong, a form of motor learning which has been hypothesized to depend on the top-down influence of a higher-order area, LMAN (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), in shaping moment-by-moment output from a primary motor area, RA (robust nucleus of the arcopallium). In paired recordings of LMAN and RA in singing birds, we discovered a neural signature of a top-down influence of LMAN on RA, quantified as an LMAN-leading co-fluctuation in activity between these areas. During learning, this co-fluctuation strengthened in a premotor temporal window linked to the specific movement, sequential context, and acoustic modification associated with learning. Moreover, transient perturbation of LMAN activity specifically within this premotor window caused rapid occlusion of pitch modifications, consistent with LMAN conveying a temporally localized motor-biasing signal. Combined, our results reveal a dynamic top-down influence of LMAN on RA that varies on the rapid timescale of individual movements and is flexibly linked to contexts associated with learning. This finding indicates that inter-area co-fluctuations can be a signature of dynamic top-down influences that support complex behavior and its adaptation.
The Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars, is exploited to produce flavorful food ubiquitously, from the baking industry to our everyday lives. However, the Maillard reaction also occurs in all cells, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, forming Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). AGEs are a heterogeneous group of compounds resulting from the irreversible reaction between biomolecules and α-dicarbonyls (α-DCs), including methylglyoxal (MGO), an unavoidable byproduct of anaerobic glycolysis and lipid peroxidation. We previously demonstrated that Caenorhabditis elegans mutants lacking the glod-4 glyoxalase enzyme displayed enhanced accumulation of α-DCs, reduced lifespan, increased neuronal damage, and touch hypersensitivity. Here, we demonstrate that glod-4 mutation increased food intake and identify that MGO-derived hydroimidazolone, MG-H1, is a mediator of the observed increase in food intake. RNAseq analysis in glod-4 knockdown worms identified upregulation of several neurotransmitters and feeding genes. Suppressor screening of the overfeeding phenotype identified the tdc-1-tyramine-tyra-2/ser-2 signaling as an essential pathway mediating AGEs (MG-H1) induced feeding in glod-4 mutants. We also identified the elt-3 GATA transcription factor as an essential upstream regulator for increased feeding upon accumulation of AGEs by partially controlling the expression of tdc-1 gene. Further, the lack of either tdc-1 or tyra-2/ser-2 receptors suppresses the reduced lifespan and rescues neuronal damage observed in glod-4 mutants. Thus, in C. elegans, we identified an elt-3 regulated tyramine-dependent pathway mediating the toxic effects of MG-H1 AGE. Understanding this signaling pathway may help understand hedonistic overfeeding behavior observed due to modern AGEs-rich diets.