Sweet neurons inhibit texture discrimination by signaling TMC-expressing mechanosensitive neurons in Drosophila.
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Integration of stimuli of different modalities is an important but incompletely understood process during decision making. Here, we show that Drosophila are capable of integrating mechanosensory and chemosensory information of choice options when deciding where to deposit their eggs. Specifically, females switch from preferring the softer option for egg-laying when both options are sugar free to being indifferent between them when both contain sucrose. Such sucrose-induced indifference between options of different hardness requires functional sweet neurons, and, curiously, the Transmembrane Channel-like (TMC)-expressing mechanosensitive neurons that have been previously shown to promote discrimination of substrate hardness during feeding. Further, axons of sweet neurons directly contact axons of TMC-expressing neurons in the brain and stimulation of sweet neurons increases Ca2+ influx into axons of TMC-expressing neurons. These results uncover one mechanism by which Drosophila integrate taste and tactile information when deciding where to deposit their eggs and reveal that TMC-expressing neurons play opposing roles in hardness discrimination in two different decisions.
sweet taste neurons
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.7554/eLife.46165
Publication InfoYang, Rebecca; Wu, Shun-Fan; Ja, Ya-Long; & Zhang, Yi-Jie (2019). Sweet neurons inhibit texture discrimination by signaling TMC-expressing mechanosensitive neurons in Drosophila. eLife, 8. 10.7554/eLife.46165. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/19048.
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Associate Professor of Neurobiology
Our lab is interested in understanding the neural basis of simple decision-making processes. We use Drosophila egg-laying site selection as our model system. To understand how the Drosophila brain assesses and ranks the values of egg-laying options, we use a combined approach that includes high-throughput optogenetics-based behavioral screen, automated (machine vision) behavioral tracking of single animals, molecular genetic tools to identify critical circuit compone