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A neural circuit basis for context-modulation of individual locomotor behavior

Skutt-Kakaria, Kyobi and Reimers, Pablo and Currier, Timothy A. and Werkhoven, Zachary and de Bivort, Benjamin L. (2019) A neural circuit basis for context-modulation of individual locomotor behavior. . (Unpublished)

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Defying the cliche that biological variation arises from differences in nature or nurture, genetically identical animals reared in the same environment exhibit striking differences in their behaviors. Innate behaviors can be surprisingly flexible, for example by exhibiting context-dependence. The intersection of behavioral individuality and context-dependence is largely unexplored, particularly at the neural circuit level. Here, we show that individual flies' tendencies to turn left or right (locomotor handedness) changes when ambient illumination changes. This change is itself a stable individual behavioral characteristic. Silencing output neurons of the central complex (a premotor area that mediates goal-directed navigation) blocks this change. These neurons respond to light with idiosyncratic changes to their baseline calcium levels, and idiosyncratic morphological variation in their presynaptic arbors correlates with idiosyncratic sensory-context-specific turn biases. These findings provide a circuit mechanism by which individual locomotor biases arise and are modulated by sensory context.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemData/Code
Skutt-Kakaria, Kyobi0000-0002-7826-6736
Reimers, Pablo0000-0003-0547-1349
Currier, Timothy A.0000-0002-1092-5563
Werkhoven, Zachary0000-0003-0611-5864
de Bivort, Benjamin L.0000-0001-6165-7696
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. bioRxiv preprint first posted online Oct. 8, 2019. We thank Ed Soucy, Brett Graham, Adam Bercu and Joel Greenwood of Harvard’s CBS Neuroengineering core for help fabricating our instruments, including our 2-photon microscope. Tanya Wolff and Gerry Rubin kindly shared the significant collection of split-Gal4 lines that we used in the circuit screen. Bryan Song and Dragana Rogulja also kindly shared Gal4 lines and mutants targeting the visual system. Tanya Wolff and Katrin Vogt provided expert consultation on the neurons in the trans-Tango staining. The Harvard Center for Biological Imaging, and namely Doug Richardson, were instrumental in providing resources and expert advice in all confocal imaging. Jennifer Erickson, Jess Kanwal, and Kate Leitch helped edit the manuscript. KSK and ZW were supported by NSF Graduate Research Fellowships #DGE2013170544 and #DGE1144152; TAC was supported by the NIH under grant no. R00DC012065. BdB was supported by a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award, a Smith Family Odyssey Award, a Harvard/MIT Basic Neuroscience Grant, the NSF under grant no. IOS-1557913, and the NIH under grant no. MH119092. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-2013170544
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144152
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Klingenstein-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Smith Family Odyssey AwardUNSPECIFIED
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:intragenotypic behavioral variability, individual differences, Drosophila melanogaster, circuit mapping, central complex, lateral accessory lobe, pre-motor
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191009-081551753
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Official Citation:A neural circuit basis for context-modulation of individual locomotor behavior. Kyobi Skutt-Kakaria, Pablo Reimers, Timothy A Currier, Zachary Werkhoven, Benjamin L de Bivort. bioRxiv 797126; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99176
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Oct 2019 16:06
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:44

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