[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histamine is an important chemical messenger that regulates multiple physiological processes in both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Even so, how glial cells and neurons recycle histamine remains to be elucidated. Drosophila photoreceptor neurons use histamine as a neurotransmitter, and the released histamine is recycled through neighboring glia, where it is conjugated to β-alanine to form carcinine. However, how carcinine is then returned to the photoreceptor remains unclear. In an mRNA-seq screen for photoreceptor cell-enriched transporters, we identified CG9317, an SLC22 transporter family protein, and named it CarT (Carcinine Transporter). S2 cells that express CarT are able to take up carcinine in vitro. In the compound eye, CarT is exclusively localized to photoreceptor terminals. Null mutations of cart alter the content of histamine and its metabolites. Moreover, null cart mutants are defective in photoreceptor synaptic transmission and lack phototaxis. These findings reveal that CarT is required for histamine recycling at histaminergic photoreceptors and provide evidence for a CarT-dependent neurotransmitter trafficking pathway between glial cells and photoreceptor terminals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neural crest is an evolutionary novelty that fostered the emergence of vertebrate anatomical innovations such as the cranium and jaws. During embryonic development, multipotent neural crest cells are specified at the lateral borders of the neural plate before delaminating, migrating and differentiating into various cell types. In invertebrate chordates (cephalochordates and tunicates), neural plate border cells express conserved factors such as Msx, Snail and Pax3/7 and generate melanin-containing pigment cells, a derivative of the neural crest in vertebrates. However, invertebrate neural plate border cells have not been shown to generate homologues of other neural crest derivatives. Thus, proposed models of neural crest evolution postulate vertebrate-specific elaborations on an ancestral neural plate border program, through acquisition of migratory capabilities and the potential to generate several cell types. Here we show that a particular neuronal cell type in the tadpole larva of the tunicate Ciona intestinalis, the bipolar tail neuron, shares a set of features with neural-crest-derived spinal ganglia neurons in vertebrates. Bipolar tail neuron precursors derive from caudal neural plate border cells, delaminate and migrate along the paraxial mesoderm on either side of the neural tube, eventually differentiating into afferent neurons that form synaptic contacts with both epidermal sensory cells and motor neurons. We propose that the neural plate borders of the chordate ancestor already produced migratory peripheral neurons and pigment cells, and that the neural crest evolved through the acquisition of a multipotent progenitor regulatory state upstream of multiple, pre-existing neural plate border cell differentiation programs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We reconstructed the synaptic circuits of seven columns in the second neuropil or medulla behind the fly's compound eye. These neurons embody some of the most stereotyped circuits in one of the most miniaturized of animal brains. The reconstructions allow us, for the first time to our knowledge, to study variations between circuits in the medulla's neighboring columns. This variation in the number of synapses and the types of their synaptic partners has previously been little addressed because methods that visualize multiple circuits have not resolved detailed connections, and existing connectomic studies, which can see such connections, have not so far examined multiple reconstructions of the same circuit. Here, we address the omission by comparing the circuits common to all seven columns to assess variation in their connection strengths and the resultant rates of several different and distinct types of connection error. Error rates reveal that, overall, <1% of contacts are not part of a consensus circuit, and we classify those contacts that supplement (E+) or are missing from it (E-). Autapses, in which the same cell is both presynaptic and postsynaptic at the same synapse, are occasionally seen; two cells in particular, Dm9 and Mi1, form ≥20-fold more autapses than do other neurons. These results delimit the accuracy of developmental events that establish and normally maintain synaptic circuits with such precision, and thereby address the operation of such circuits. They also establish a precedent for error rates that will be required in the new science of connectomics.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The promise of extracting connectomes and performing useful analysis on large
electron microscopy (EM) datasets has been an elusive dream for many years.
Tracing in even the smallest portions of neuropil requires copious human
annotation, the rate-limiting step for generating a connectome. While a
combination of improved imaging and automatic segmentation will lead to the
analysis of increasingly large volumes, machines still fail to reach the
quality of human tracers. Unfortunately, small errors in image segmentation can
lead to catastrophic distortions of the connectome.
In this paper, to analyze very large datasets, we explore different
mechanisms that are less sensitive to errors in automation. Namely, we advocate
and deploy extensive synapse detection on the entire antennal lobe (AL)
neuropil in the brain of the fruit fly Drosophila, a region much larger than
any densely annotated to date. The resulting synapse point cloud produced is
invaluable for determining compartment boundaries in the AL and choosing
specific regions for subsequent analysis. We introduce our methodology in this
paper for region selection and show both manual and automatic synapse
annotation results. Finally, we note the correspondence between image datasets
obtained using the synaptic marker, antibody nc82, and our datasets enabling
registration between light and EM image modalities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spider sensory neurons with cell bodies close to various sensory organs are innervated by putative efferent axons from the central nervous system (CNS). Light and electronmicroscopic imaging of immunolabeled neurons has demonstrated that neurotransmitters present at peripheral synapses include γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate and octopamine. Moreover, electrophysiological studies show that these neurotransmitters modulate the sensitivity of peripheral sensory neurons. Here, we undertook immunocytochemical investigations to characterize GABA and glutamate-immunoreactive neurons in three-dimensional reconstructions of the spider CNS. We document that both neurotransmitters are abundant in morphologically distinct neurons throughout the CNS. Labeling for the vesicular transporters, VGAT for GABA and VGLUT for glutamate, showed corresponding patterns, supporting the specificity of antibody binding. Whereas some neurons displayed strong immunolabeling, others were only weakly labeled. Double labeling showed that a subpopulation of weakly labeled neurons present in all ganglia expresses both GABA and glutamate. Double labeled, strongly and weakly labeled GABA and glutamate immunoreactive axons were also observed in the periphery along muscle fibers and peripheral sensory neurons. Electron microscopic investigations showed presynaptic profiles of various diameters with mixed vesicle populations innervating muscle tissue as well as sensory neurons. Our findings provide evidence that: (1) sensory neurons and muscle fibers are innervated by morphologically distinct, centrally located GABA- and glutamate immunoreactive neurons; (2) a subpopulation of these neurons may co-release both neurotransmitters; and (3) sensory neurons and muscles are innervated by all of these neurochemically and morphologically distinct types of neurons. The biochemical diversity of presynaptic innervation may contribute to how spiders filter natural stimuli and coordinate appropriate response patterns.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Cell and Tissue Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic circuits for identified behaviors in the Drosophila brain have typically been considered from either a developmental or functional perspective without reference to how the circuits might have been inherited from ancestral forms. For example, two candidate pathways for ON- and OFF-edge motion detection in the visual system act via circuits that use respectively either T4 or T5, two cell types of the fourth neuropil, or lobula plate (LOP), that exhibit narrow-field direction-selective responses and provide input to wide-field tangential neurons. T4 or T5 both have four subtypes that terminate one each in the four strata of the LOP. Representatives are reported in a wide range of Diptera, and both cell types exhibit various similarities in: (1) the morphology of their dendritic arbors; (2) their four morphological and functional subtypes; (3) their cholinergic profile in Drosophila; (4) their input from the pathways of L3 cells in the first neuropil, or lamina (LA), and by one of a pair of LA cells, L1 (to the T4 pathway) and L2 (to the T5 pathway); and (5) their innervation by a single, wide-field contralateral tangential neuron from the central brain. Progenitors of both also express the gene atonal early in their proliferation from the inner anlage of the developing optic lobe, being alone among many other cell type progeny to do so. Yet T4 receives input in the second neuropil, or medulla (ME), and T5 in the third neuropil or lobula (LO). Here we suggest that these two cell types were originally one, that their ancestral cell population duplicated and split to innervate separate ME and LO neuropils, and that a fiber crossing-the internal chiasma-arose between the two neuropils. The split most plausibly occurred, we suggest, with the formation of the LO as a new neuropil that formed when it separated from its ancestral neuropil to leave the ME, suggesting additionally that ME input neurons to T4 and T5 may also have had a common origin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Neuronal circuits in worms, flies, and mammals are organized so as to minimize wiring length for a functional number of synaptic connections, a phenomenon called wiring optimization. However, the molecular mechanisms that establish optimal wiring during development are unknown. We addressed this question by studying the role of N-cadherin in the development of optimally wired neurite fascicles in the peripheral visual system of Drosophila.
Photoreceptor axons surround the dendrites of their postsynaptic targets, called lamina cells, within a concentric fascicle called a cartridge. N-cadherin is expressed at higher levels in lamina cells than in photoreceptors, and all genetic manipulations that invert these relative differences displace lamina cells to the periphery and relocate photoreceptor axon terminals into the center.
Differential expression of a single cadherin is both necessary and sufficient to determine cartridge structure because it positions the most-adhesive elements that make the most synapses at the core and the less-adhesive elements that make fewer synapses at the periphery. These results suggest a general model by which differential adhesion can be utilized to determine the relative positions of axons and dendrites to establish optimal wiring.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the fly's visual motion pathways, two cell types-T4 and T5-are the first known relay neurons to signal small-field direction-selective motion responses . These cells then feed into large tangential cells that signal wide-field motion. Recent studies have identified two types of columnar neurons in the second neuropil, or medulla, that relay input to T4 from L1, the ON-channel neuron in the first neuropil, or lamina, thus providing a candidate substrate for the elementary motion detector (EMD) . Interneurons relaying the OFF channel from L1's partner, L2, to T5 are so far not known, however.
Here we report that multiple types of transmedulla (Tm) neurons provide unexpectedly complex inputs to T5 at their terminals in the third neuropil, or lobula. From the L2 pathway, single-column input comes from Tm1 and Tm2 and multiple-column input from Tm4 cells. Additional input to T5 comes from Tm9, the medulla target of a third lamina interneuron, L3, providing a candidate substrate for L3's combinatorial action with L2 . Most numerous, Tm2 and Tm9's input synapses are spatially segregated on T5's dendritic arbor, providing candidate anatomical substrates for the two arms of a T5 EMD circuit; Tm1 and Tm2 provide a second. Transcript profiling indicates that T5 expresses both nicotinic and muscarinic cholinoceptors, qualifying T5 to receive cholinergic inputs from Tm9 and Tm2, which both express choline acetyltransferase (ChAT).
We hypothesize that T5 computes small-field motion signals by integrating multiple cholinergic Tm inputs using nicotinic and muscarinic cholinoceptors.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Current biology: CB
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each neuropil module, or cartridge, in the fly's lamina has a fixed complement of cells. Of five types of monopolar cell interneurons, only L4 has collaterals that invade neighboring cartridges. In the proximal lamina, these collaterals form reciprocal synapses with both the L2 of their own cartridge and the L4 collateral branches from two other neighboring cartridges. During synaptogenesis, L4 collaterals strongly express the cell adhesion protein Kirre, a member of the irre cell recognition module (IRM) group of proteins ( Fischbach et al., 2009 , J Neurogenet, 23, 48-67). The authors show by mutant analysis and gene knockdown techniques that L4 neurons develop their lamina collaterals in the absence of this cell adhesion protein. Using electron microscopy (EM), the authors demonstrate, however, that without Kirre protein these L4 collaterals selectively form fewer synapses. The collaterals of L4 neurons of various genotypes reconstructed from serial-section EM revealed that the number of postsynaptic sites was dramatically reduced in the absence of Kirre, almost eliminating any synaptic input to L4 neurons. A significant reduction of presynaptic sites was also detected in kirre(0) mutants and gene knockdown flies using RNA interference. L4 neuron reciprocal synapses are thus almost eliminated. A presynaptic marker, Brp-short(GFP) confirmed these data using confocal microscopy. This study reveals that removing Kirre protein specifically disrupts the functional L4 synaptic network in the Drosophila lamina.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of neurogenetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The small GTPase Rab7 is a key regulator of endosomal maturation in eukaryotic cells. Mutations in rab7 are thought to cause the dominant neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B (CMT2B) by a gain-of-function mechanism. Here we show that loss of rab7, but not overexpression of rab7 CMT2B mutants, causes adult-onset neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model. All CMT2B mutant proteins retain 10–50% function based on quantitative imaging, electrophysiology, and rescue experiments in sensory and motor neurons in vivo. Consequently, expression of CMT2B mutants at levels between 0.5 and 10-fold their endogenous levels fully rescues the neuropathy-like phenotypes of the rab7 mutant. Live imaging reveals that CMT2B proteins are inefficiently recruited to endosomes, but do not impair endosomal maturation. These findings are not consistent with a gain-of-function mechanism. Instead, they indicate a dosage-dependent sensitivity of neurons to rab7-dependent degradation. Our results suggest a therapeutic approach opposite to the currently proposed reduction of mutant protein function. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01064.001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The planthopper insect Issus produces one of the fastest and most powerful jumps of any insect. The jump is powered by large muscles that are found in its thorax and that, in other insects, contribute to both flying and walking movements. These muscles were therefore analysed by transmission electron microscopy to determine whether they have the properties of fast-acting muscle used in flying or those of more slowly acting muscle used in walking. The muscle fibres are arranged in a parallel bundle that inserts onto an umbrella-shaped tendon. The individual fibres have a diameter of about 70 μm and are subdivided into myofibrils a few micrometres in diameter. No variation in ultrastructure was observed in various fibres taken from different parts of the muscle. The sarcomeres are about 15 μm long and the A bands about 10 μm long. The Z lines are poorly aligned within a myofibril. Mitochondrial profiles are sparse and are close to the Z lines. Each thick filament is surrounded by 10-12 thin filaments and the registration of these arrays of filaments is irregular. Synaptic boutons from the two excitatory motor neurons to the muscle fibres are characterised by accumulations of ~60 translucent 40-nm-diameter vesicle profiles per section, corresponding to an estimated 220 vesicles, within a 0.5-μm hemisphere at a presynaptic density. All ultrastructural features conform to those of slow muscle and thus suggest that the muscle is capable of slow sustained contractions in keeping with its known actions during jumping. A fast and powerful movement is thus generated by a slow muscle.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Cell and Tissue Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal behaviour arises from computations in neuronal circuits, but our understanding of these computations has been frustrated by the lack of detailed synaptic connection maps, or connectomes. For example, despite intensive investigations over half a century, the neuronal implementation of local motion detection in the insect visual system remains elusive. Here we develop a semi-automated pipeline using electron microscopy to reconstruct a connectome, containing 379 neurons and 8,637 chemical synaptic contacts, within the Drosophila optic medulla. By matching reconstructed neurons to examples from light microscopy, we assigned neurons to cell types and assembled a connectome of the repeating module of the medulla. Within this module, we identified cell types constituting a motion detection circuit, and showed that the connections onto individual motion-sensitive neurons in this circuit were consistent with their direction selectivity. Our results identify cellular targets for future functional investigations, and demonstrate that connectomes can provide key insights into neuronal computations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first Rabbit Retinal Connectome volume (RC1), constructed via automated transmission electron microscopy (ATEM) and computational molecular phenotyping (CMP), spans the mid-inner nuclear layer (INL) at section 001 to the ganglion cell layer (GCL) at section 371, shown in a mirror image below. RC1 is a short cylinder ≈ 250 μm in diameter and ≈ 30 μm high containing 341 ATEM sections and 11 intercalated CMP sections. The cylinder is capped at top and bottom with 10-section CMP series allowing molecular segmentation of cells, and an activity marker, 1-amino-4-guanidobutane (AGB), to mark cells differentially stimulated via glutamatergic synapses. ATEM section 001 is a horizontal plane section through the INL visualized with GABA.glycine.glutamate → red.green.blue transparency mapping and a dark gold alpha channel (ANDed taurine + glutamine channels). ATEM section 371 is a horizontal plane section through the GCL visualized with GABA.AGB.glutamate → red.green.blue transparency mapping.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kirre (Kin-of-irre) is a Neph-like member of the evolutionarily conserved IRM protein family (1) with 5 extracellular Ig-domains, a single transmembrane domain and a cytoplasmic tail containing a PDZ-binding domain at its C-terminus. Our studies in Drosophila aim to secure an understanding of the neural function of this protein and we have chosen two paradigms for our investigations: the arborizations of L4 neurons in the optic lamina and the axon terminals of olfactory receptor neurons in the antennal lobe.
L4 neurons are the only monopolar cells in each of the synaptic modules, or cartridges of the fly’s lamina that invade two neighboring cartridges via collateral neurites. These collaterals display strong -Kirre immunoreactivity in the proximal lamina, and there L4 neurons form reciprocal synapses with both L2 dendrites and the collaterals from neighbouring L4 neurons. Our light and electron microscopy has shown that the knockdown and knockout of Kirre in L4 neurons selectively reduces synapse numbers. This seems to result from specific defects in target recognition.
We now try to generalize these results on target recognition and/or synaptogenesis by investigating Kirre function in the antennal lobes as well. Here olfactory receptor axons display strong -Kirre immunoreactivity.
One of the questions we try to answer is whether heterophilic or homophilic trans interactions play a role in the effect of Kirre on synapse number. Homophilic interactions have been reported for Kirrel2 and Kirrel3 in the olfactory system of the mouse (2). Another question involves the degree of redundancy of Kirre with its paralogue Rst (Roughest, 1).
Support: DFG Fi336/8-1 (to K-F.F.) and NIH 03592 (to I.A.M.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bisphenol A (BPA) is widely used industrially to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Numerous studies document the harmful effects caused by low-dose BPA exposure especially on nervous systems and behavior in experimental animals such as mice and rats. Here, we exposed embryos of a model chordate, Ciona intestinalis, to seawater containing BPA to evaluate adverse effects on embryonic development and on the swimming behavior of subsequent larvae. Ciona is ideal because its larva develops rapidly and has few cells. The rate of larval hatching decreased in a dose-dependent manner with exposures to BPA above 3 μM; swimming behavior was also affected in larvae emerging from embryos exposed to 1 μM BPA. Adverse effects were most severe on fertilized eggs exposed to BPA within 7 h post-fertilization. Ciona shares twelve nuclear receptors with mammals, and BPA is proposed to disturb the physiological functions of one or more of these.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Environmental Pollution
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fly and vertebrate nervous systems share many organizational features, such as layers, columns and glomeruli, and utilize similar synaptic components, such as ion channels and receptors. Both also exhibit similar network features. Recent technological advances, especially in electron microscopy, now allow us to determine synaptic circuits and identify pathways cell-by-cell, as part of the fly's connectome. Genetic tools provide the means to identify synaptic components, as well as to record and manipulate neuronal activity, adding function to the connectome. This review discusses technical advances in these emerging areas of functional connectomics, offering prognoses in each and identifying the challenges in bridging structural connectomics to molecular biology and synaptic physiology, thereby determining fundamental mechanisms of neural computation that underlie behavior.
No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Advances in genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mushroom bodies are high-order sensory integration centers in the insect brain. In the honeybee, their main sensory input regions are large, doubled calyces with modality-specific, distinct sensory neuropil regions. We investigated adult structural plasticity of input synapses in the microglomeruli of the olfactory lip and visual collar. Synapsin-immunolabeled whole-mount brains reveal that during the natural transition from nursing to foraging, a significant volume increase in the calycal subdivisions is accompanied by a decreased packing density of boutons from input projection neurons. To investigate the associated ultrastructural changes at pre- and postsynaptic sites of individual microglomeruli, we employed serial-section electron microscopy. In general, the membrane surface area of olfactory and visual projection neuron boutons increased significantly between 1-day-old bees and foragers. Both types of boutons formed ribbon and non-ribbon synapses. The percentage of ribbon synapses per bouton was significantly increased in the forager. At each presynaptic site the numbers of postsynaptic partners-mostly Kenyon cell dendrites-likewise increased. Ribbon as well as non-ribbon synapses formed mainly dyads in the 1-day-old bee, and triads in the forager. In the visual collar, outgrowing Kenyon cell dendrites form about 140 contacts upon a projection neuron bouton in the forager compared with only about 95 in the 1-day-old bee, resulting in an increased divergence ratio between the two stages. This difference suggests that synaptic changes in calycal microcircuits of the mushroom body during periods of altered sensory activity and experience promote behavioral plasticity underlying polyethism and social organization in honeybee colonies.
No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate how sensory information is processed, transformed, and stored within an olfactory system, we examined the anatomy of the input region, the calyx, of the mushroom bodies of Drosophila melanogaster. These paired structures are important for various behaviors, including olfactory learning and memory. Cells in the input neuropil, the calyx, are organized into an array of microglomeruli each comprising the large synaptic bouton of a projection neuron (PN) from the antennal lobe surrounded by tiny postsynaptic neurites from intrinsic Kenyon cells. Extrinsic neurons of the mushroom body also contribute to the organization of microglomeruli. We employed a combination of genetic reporters to identify single cells in the Drosophila calyx by light microscopy and compared these with cell shapes, synapses, and circuits derived from serial-section electron microscopy. We identified three morphological types of PN boutons, unilobed, clustered, and elongated; defined three ultrastructural types, with clear- or dense-core vesicles and those with a dark cytoplasm having both; reconstructed diverse dendritic specializations of Kenyon cells; and identified Kenyon cell presynaptic sites upon extrinsic neurons. We also report new features of calyx synaptic organization, in particular extensive serial synapses that link calycal extrinsic neurons into a local network, and the numerical proportions of synaptic contacts between calycal neurons. All PN bouton types had more ribbon than nonribbon synapses, dark boutons particularly so, and ribbon synapses were larger and with more postsynaptic elements (2-14) than nonribbon (1-10). The numbers of elements were in direct proportion to presynaptic membrane area. Extrinsic neurons exclusively had ribbon synapses.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology