Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain

Dominic D. Frank, Genevieve C. Jouandet, Patrick J. Kearney, Lindsey J. MacPherson, Marco Gallio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Drosophila, rapid temperature changes are detected at the periphery by dedicated receptors forming a simple sensory map for hot and cold in the brain. However, flies show a host of complex innate and learned responses to temperature, indicating that they are able to extract a range of information from this simple input. Here we define the anatomical and physiological repertoire for temperature representation in the Drosophila brain. First, we use a photolabelling strategy to trace the connections that relay peripheral thermosensory information to higher brain centres, and show that they largely converge onto three target regions: the mushroom body, the lateral horn (both of which are well known centres for sensory processing) and the posterior lateral protocerebrum, a region we now define as a major site of thermosensory representation. Next, using in vivo calcium imaging, we describe the thermosensory projection neurons selectively activated by hot or cold stimuli. Fast-adapting neurons display transient ON and OFF responses and track rapid temperature shifts remarkably well, while slow-adapting cell responses better reflect the magnitude of simple thermal changes. Unexpectedly, we also find a population of broadly tuned cells that respond to both heating and cooling, and show that they are required for normal behavioural avoidance of both hot and cold in a simple two-choice temperature preference assay. Taken together, our results uncover a coordinated ensemble of neural responses to temperature in the Drosophila brain, demonstrate that a broadly tuned thermal line contributes to rapid avoidance behaviour, and illustrate how stimulus quality, temporal structure, and intensity can be extracted from a simple glomerular map at a single synaptic station.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-361
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume519
Issue number7543
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Frank, D. D., Jouandet, G. C., Kearney, P. J., MacPherson, L. J., & Gallio, M. (2015). Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain. Nature, 519(7543), 358-361. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14284