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Published March 12, 2009 | Supplemental Material + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Distinct sensory representations of wind and near-field sound in the Drosophila brain


Behavioural responses to wind are thought to have a critical role in controlling the dispersal and population genetics of wild Drosophila species^(1, 2), as well as their navigation in flight^3, but their underlying neurobiological basis is unknown. We show that Drosophila melanogaster, like wild-caught Drosophila strains^4, exhibits robust wind-induced suppression of locomotion in response to air currents delivered at speeds normally encountered in nature^(1, 2). Here we identify wind-sensitive neurons in Johnston's organ, an antennal mechanosensory structure previously implicated in near-field sound detection (reviewed in refs 5 and 6). Using enhancer trap lines targeted to different subsets of Johnston's organ neurons^7, and a genetically encoded calcium indicator^8, we show that wind and near-field sound (courtship song) activate distinct populations of Johnston's organ neurons, which project to different regions of the antennal and mechanosensory motor centre in the central brain. Selective genetic ablation of wind-sensitive Johnston's organ neurons in the antenna abolishes wind-induced suppression of locomotion behaviour, without impairing hearing. Moreover, different neuronal subsets within the wind-sensitive population respond to different directions of arista deflection caused by air flow and project to different regions of the antennal and mechanosensory motor centre, providing a rudimentary map of wind direction in the brain. Importantly, sound- and wind-sensitive Johnston's organ neurons exhibit different intrinsic response properties: the former are phasically activated by small, bi-directional, displacements of the aristae, whereas the latter are tonically activated by unidirectional, static deflections of larger magnitude. These different intrinsic properties are well suited to the detection of oscillatory pulses of near-field sound and laminar air flow, respectively. These data identify wind-sensitive neurons in Johnston's organ, a structure that has been primarily associated with hearing, and reveal how the brain can distinguish different types of air particle movements using a common sensory organ.

Additional Information

© 2009 Nature Publishing Group. We thank U. Heberlein and F. Wolf for hosting a sabbatical that led to the discovery of WISL; J. S. Johnson for helpful discussions; L. Zelnik, M. Reiser and P. Perona for creating locomotor tracking software; D. Eberl and J. Hall for D. melanogaster courtship song recordings; G. Maimon for making fly holders for imaging experiments; M. Roy for building behavioral chambers for WISL and female receptivity assays; H. Inagaki for JO-CE-GAL4; eyFLP flies; B. Hay for UAS-hid flies; D. Berdnik for UAS-FRT-STOP-FRT-Ricin flies; M. Dickinson for anemometers and discussions; J. L. Anderson for advice on fluid mechanics; M. Gopfert for providing a pressure gradient microphone; M. Konishi for advice and use of laboratory facilities; and G. Mosconi for laboratory management. D.J.A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This work was supported in part by NSF grant EF-0623527.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms103026.pdf

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp1.pdf

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp2a.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp2b.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp2c.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp2d.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp2e.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp3a.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp3b.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp3c.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp3d.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp3e.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp4a.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp4b.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp4c.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp4d.mov

Supplemental Material - Yorozu2009p60610.1038nature07843_supp4e.mov


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