A pair of ascending neurons in the subesophageal zone mediates aversive sensory inputs-evoked backward locomotion in Drosophila larvae

Autoři: Natsuko Omamiuda-Ishikawa aff001;  Moeka Sakai aff001;  Kazuo Emoto aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo aff001;  International Research Center for Neurointelligence (WPI-IRCN), The University of Tokyo aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: A pair of ascending neurons in the subesophageal zone mediates aversive sensory inputs-evoked backward locomotion in Drosophila larvae. PLoS Genet 16(11): e1009120. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009120
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009120


Animals typically avoid unwanted situations with stereotyped escape behavior. For instance, Drosophila larvae often escape from aversive stimuli to the head, such as mechanical stimuli and blue light irradiation, by backward locomotion. Responses to these aversive stimuli are mediated by a variety of sensory neurons including mechanosensory class III da (C3da) sensory neurons and blue-light responsive class IV da (C4da) sensory neurons and Bolwig’s organ (BO). How these distinct sensory pathways evoke backward locomotion at the circuit level is still incompletely understood. Here we show that a pair of cholinergic neurons in the subesophageal zone, designated AMBs, evoke robust backward locomotion upon optogenetic activation. Anatomical and functional analysis shows that AMBs act upstream of MDNs, the command-like neurons for backward locomotion. Further functional analysis indicates that AMBs preferentially convey aversive blue light information from C4da neurons to MDNs to elicit backward locomotion, whereas aversive information from BO converges on MDNs through AMB-independent pathways. We also found that, unlike in adult flies, MDNs are dispensable for the dead end-evoked backward locomotion in larvae. Our findings thus reveal the neural circuits by which two distinct blue light-sensing pathways converge on the command-like neurons to evoke robust backward locomotion, and suggest that distinct but partially redundant neural circuits including the command-like neurons might be utilized to drive backward locomotion in response to different sensory stimuli as well as in adults and larvae.

Klíčová slova:

Optogenetics – Behavior – Biological locomotion – Larvae – Neural pathways – Neurons – Sensory neurons – Sensory perception


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