Normalization for sparse encoding of odors by a wide-field interneuron.
ABSTRACT: Sparse coding presents practical advantages for sensory representations and memory storage. In the insect olfactory system, the representation of general odors is dense in the antennal lobes but sparse in the mushroom bodies, only one synapse downstream. In locusts, this transformation relies on the oscillatory structure of antennal lobe output, feed-forward inhibitory circuits, intrinsic properties of mushroom body neurons, and connectivity between antennal lobe and mushroom bodies. Here we show the existence of a normalizing negative-feedback loop within the mushroom body to maintain sparse output over a wide range of input conditions. This loop consists of an identifiable "giant" nonspiking inhibitory interneuron with ubiquitous connectivity and graded release properties.
Project description:Feedback plays important roles in sensory processing. Mushroom bodies are believed to be involved in olfactory learning/memory and multisensory integration in insects. Previous cobalt-labeling studies have suggested the existence of feedback from the mushroom bodies to the antennal lobes in the honey bee. In this study, the existence of functional feedback from Drosophila mushroom bodies to the antennal lobes was investigated through ectopic expression of the ATP receptor P2X(2) in the Kenyon cells of mushroom bodies. Activation of Kenyon cells induced depolarization in projection neurons and local interneurons in the antennal lobes in a nicotinic receptor-dependent manner. Activation of Kenyon cell axons in the betagamma-lobes in the mushroom body induced more potent responses in the antennal lobe neurons than activation of Kenyon cell somata. Our results indicate that functional feedback from Kenyon cells to projection neurons and local interneurons is present in Drosophila and is likely mediated by the betagamma-lobes. The presence of this functional feedback from the mushroom bodies to the antennal lobes suggests top-down modulation of olfactory information processing in Drosophila.
Project description:Here we demonstrate the independent acquisition of strikingly similar brain architectures across divergent insect taxa and even across phyla under similar adaptive pressures. Convoluted cortical gyri-like structures characterize the mushroom body calyces in the brains of certain species of insects; we have investigated in detail the cellular and ecological correlates of this morphology in the Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles). "Gyrencephalic" mushroom bodies with increased surface area and volume of calycal synaptic neuropils and increased intrinsic neuron number characterize only those species belonging to generalist plant-feeding subfamilies, whereas significantly smaller "lissencephalic" mushroom bodies are found in more specialist dung-feeding scarab beetles. Such changes are not unique to scarabs or herbivores, because the mushroom bodies of predatory beetles display similar morphological disparities in generalists vs. specialists. We also show that gyrencephalic mushroom bodies in generalist scarabs are not associated with an increase in the size of their primary input neuropil, the antennal lobe, or in the number of antennal lobe glomeruli but rather with an apparent increase in the density of calycal microglomeruli and the acquisition of calycal subpartitions. These differences suggest changes in calyx circuitry facilitating the increased demands on processing capability and flexibility imposed by the evolution of a generalist feeding ecology.
Project description:Connections between neuronal populations may be genetically hardwired or random. In the insect olfactory system, projection neurons of the antennal lobe connect randomly to Kenyon cells of the mushroom body. Consequently, while the odor responses of the projection neurons are stereotyped across individuals, the responses of the Kenyon cells are variable. Surprisingly, downstream of Kenyon cells, mushroom body output neurons show stereotypy in their responses. We found that the stereotypy is enabled by the convergence of inputs from many Kenyon cells onto an output neuron, and does not require learning. The stereotypy emerges in the total response of the Kenyon cell population using multiple odor-specific features of the projection neuron responses, benefits from the nonlinearity in the transfer function, depends on the convergence:randomness ratio, and is constrained by sparseness. Together, our results reveal the fundamental mechanisms and constraints with which convergence enables stereotypy in sensory responses despite random connectivity.
Project description:This article describes the cellular sources for tyramine and the cellular targets of tyramine via the Tyramine Receptor 1 (AmTyr1) in the olfactory learning and memory neuropils of the honey bee brain. Clusters of approximately 160 tyramine immunoreactive neurons are the source of tyraminergic fibers with small varicosities in the optic lobes, antennal lobes, lateral protocerebrum, mushroom body (calyces and gamma lobes), tritocerebrum and subesophageal ganglion (SEG). Our tyramine mapping study shows that the primary sources of tyramine in the antennal lobe and calyx of the mushroom body are from at least two Ventral Unpaired Median neurons (VUMmd and VUMmx) with cell bodies in the SEG. To reveal AmTyr1 receptors in the brain, we used newly characterized anti-AmTyr1 antibodies. Immunolocalization studies in the antennal lobe with anti-AmTyr1 antibodies showed that the AmTyr1 expression pattern is mostly in the presynaptic sites of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). In the mushroom body calyx, anti-AmTyr1 mapped the presynaptic sites of uniglomerular Projection Neurons (PNs) located primarily in the microglomeruli of the lip and basal ring calyx area. Release of tyramine/octopamine from VUM (md and mx) neurons in the antennal lobe and mushroom body calyx would target AmTyr1 expressed on ORN and uniglomerular PN presynaptic terminals. The presynaptic location of AmTyr1, its structural similarity with vertebrate alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, and previous pharmacological evidence suggests that it has an important role in the presynaptic inhibitory control of neurotransmitter release.
Project description:In flies, the olfactory information is carried from the first relay in the brain, the antennal lobe, to the mushroom body (MB) and the lateral horn (LH). Olfactory associations are formed in the MB. The LH was ascribed a role in innate responses based on the stereotyped connectivity with the antennal lobe, stereotyped physiological responses to odors, and MB silencing experiments. Direct evidence for the functional role of the LH is still missing. Here, we investigate the behavioral role of the LH neurons (LHNs) directly, using the CO2 response as a paradigm. Our results show the involvement of the LH in innate responses. Specifically, we demonstrate that activity in two sets of neurons is required for the full behavioral response to CO2. Tests of the behavioral response to other odors indicate the neurons are selective to CO2 response. Using calcium imaging, we observe that the two sets of neurons respond to CO2 in a different manner. Using independent manipulation and recording of the two sets of neurons, we find that the one that projects to the superior intermediate protocerebrum (SIP) also outputs to the local neurons within the LH. The design of simultaneous output at the LH and the SIP, an output of the MB, allows for coordination between innate and learned responses.
Project description:In the antennal lobe of Drosophila, information about odors is transferred from olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) to projection neurons (PNs), which then send axons to neurons in the lateral horn of the protocerebrum (LHNs) and to Kenyon cells (KCs) in the mushroom body. The transformation from ORN to PN responses can be described by a normalization model similar to what has been used in modeling visually responsive neurons. We study the implications of this transformation for the generation of LHN and KC responses under the hypothesis that LHN responses are highly selective and therefore suitable for driving innate behaviors, whereas KCs provide a more general sparse representation of odors suitable for forming learned behavioral associations. Our results indicate that the transformation from ORN to PN firing rates in the antennal lobe equalizes the magnitudes of and decorrelates responses to different odors through feedforward nonlinearities and lateral suppression within the circuitry of the antennal lobe, and we study how these two components affect LHN and KC responses.
Project description:The honeybee olfactory system is a well-established model for understanding functional mechanisms of learning and memory. Olfactory stimuli are first processed in the antennal lobe, and then transferred to the mushroom body and lateral horn through dual pathways termed medial and lateral antennal lobe tracts (m-ALT and l-ALT). Recent studies reported that honeybees can perform elemental learning by associating an odour with a reward signal even after lesions in m-ALT or blocking the mushroom bodies. To test the hypothesis that the lateral pathway (l-ALT) is sufficient for elemental learning, we modelled local computation within glomeruli in antennal lobes with axons of projection neurons connecting to a decision neuron (LHN) in the lateral horn. We show that inhibitory spike-timing dependent plasticity (modelling non-associative plasticity by exposure to different stimuli) in the synapses from local neurons to projection neurons decorrelates the projection neurons' outputs. The strength of the decorrelations is regulated by global inhibitory feedback within antennal lobes to the projection neurons. By additionally modelling octopaminergic modification of synaptic plasticity among local neurons in the antennal lobes and projection neurons to LHN connections, the model can discriminate and generalize olfactory stimuli. Although positive patterning can be accounted for by the l-ALT model, negative patterning requires further processing and mushroom body circuits. Thus, our model explains several-but not all-types of associative olfactory learning and generalization by a few neural layers of odour processing in the l-ALT. As an outcome of the combination between non-associative and associative learning, the modelling approach allows us to link changes in structural organization of honeybees' antennal lobes with their behavioural performances over the course of their life.
Project description:In neuroscience, the structure of a circuit has often been used to intuit function-an inversion of Louis Kahn's famous dictum, "Form follows function" (Kristan and Katz, 2006). However, different brain networks may use different network architectures to solve the same problem. The olfactory circuits of two insects, the locust, Schistocerca americana, and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, serve the same function-to identify and discriminate odors. The neural circuitry that achieves this shows marked structural differences. Projection neurons (PNs) in the antennal lobe innervate Kenyon cells (KCs) of the mushroom body. In locust, each KC receives inputs from ?50% of PNs, a scheme that maximizes the difference between inputs to any two of ?50,000 KCs. In contrast, in Drosophila, this number is only 5% and appears suboptimal. Using a computational model of the olfactory system, we show that the activity of KCs is sufficiently high-dimensional that it can separate similar odors regardless of the divergence of PN-KC connections. However, when temporal patterning encodes odor attributes, dense connectivity outperforms sparse connections. Increased separability comes at the cost of reliability. The disadvantage of sparse connectivity can be mitigated by incorporating other aspects of circuit architecture seen in Drosophila Our simulations predict that Drosophila and locust circuits lie at different ends of a continuum where the Drosophila gives up on the ability to resolve similar odors to generalize across varying environments, while the locust separates odor representations but risks misclassifying noisy variants of the same odor.
Project description:We have characterized, by intracellular recording and staining combined with immunocytochemistry, a serotonin-immunoreactive neuron in the central olfactory pathway of the male moth Helicoverpa assulta. The neuron joins the unique category of so-called SI antennal-lobe neurons, previously described in several insect species. In similarity with that originally discovered in the sphinx moth Manduca sexta, the neuron identified here has a large soma located posteriorly in the lateral cell cluster of the antennal lobe and an unbranched neurite projecting into the ipsilateral protocerebrum via the inner antennocerebral tract. After bypassing the central body, the axon crosses the midline and extends through the corresponding antennocerebral tract to the contralateral antennal lobe where it innervates the entire assembly of glomeruli including the male-specific macroglomerular complex. The neuron arborizes into several fine branches in bilateral protocerebral regions anterior to the calyces of the mushroom bodies, particularly on the contralateral side. The physiology of the neuron revealed 2 distinctly different spiking amplitudes, 1 small showing a relatively high spontaneous activity and 1 large showing low activity. The small-amplitude spikes displayed increased frequency when pheromones and plant odors were blown over the antenna. The large-amplitude spikes, which had an unusually long duration, showed no observable responses.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Gene gain and subsequent retention or loss during evolution may be one of the underlying mechanisms involved in generating the diversity of metazoan nervous systems. However, the causal relationships acting therein have not been studied extensively. RESULTS: We identified the gene PsGEF (protostome-specific GEF), which is present in all the sequenced genomes of insects and limpet but absent in those of sea anemones, deuterostomes, and nematodes. In Drosophila melanogaster, PsGEF encodes a short version of a protein with the C2 and PDZ domains, as well as a long version with the C2, PDZ, and RhoGEF domains through alternative splicing. Intriguingly, the exons encoding the RhoGEF domain are specifically deleted in the Daphnia pulex genome, suggesting that Daphnia PsGEF contains only the C2 and PDZ domains. Thus, the distribution of PsGEF containing the C2, PDZ, and RhoGEF domains among metazoans appears to coincide with the presence of mushroom bodies. Mushroom bodies are prominent neuropils involved in the processing of multiple sensory inputs as well as associative learning in the insect, platyhelminth, and annelid brains. In the adult Drosophila brain, PsGEF is expressed in mushroom bodies, antennal lobe, and optic lobe, where it is necessary for the correct axon branch formation of alpha/beta neurons in mushroom bodies. PsGEF genetically interacts with Rac1 but not other Rho family members, and the RhoGEF domain of PsGEF induces actin polymerization in the membrane, thus resulting in the membrane ruffling that is observed in cultured cells with activated forms of Rac. CONCLUSION: The specific acquisition of PsGEF by the last common ancestor of protostomes followed by its retention or loss in specific animal species during evolution demonstrates that there are some structural and/or functional features common between insect and lophotrochozoan nervous systems (for example, mushroom bodies), which are absent in all deuterostomes and cnidarians. PsGEF is therefore one of genes associated with the diversity of metazoan nervous systems.