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The Feeding Connectome: Convergence of Monosynaptic and Polysynaptic Sensory Paths onto Common Motor Outputs

By Anton Miroschnikow, Philipp Schlegel, Andreas Schoofs, Sebastian Hückesfeld, Ashok Litwin-Kumar, Casey Schneider-Mizell, Richard D Fetter, James W Truman, Albert Cardona, Michael J Pankratz

Posted 13 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/368878 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.40247)

Little is known about the organization of central circuits by which external and internal sensory in-puts act on motor outputs to regulate fundamental behaviors such as feeding. We reconstructed, from a whole CNS EM volume, the synaptic map of input and output neurons that underlie food in-take behavior of Drosophila larvae. The input neurons originate from enteric, pharyngeal and external sensory organs and converge onto seven distinct sensory synaptic compartments within the CNS, as defined by distribution patterns of their presynaptic sites. The output neurons consist of pharyngeal motor neurons, serotonergic modulatory neurons, and neuroendocrine neurons that target the ring gland, a key endocrine organ. Monosynaptic connections from a set of sensory synaptic compartments cover the motor and endocrine targets in overlapping domains. Polysynaptic routes can be superimposed on top of the monosynaptic connections, resulting in divergent sensory paths that converge on common motor outputs. A completely different set of sensory compartments is connected to the mushroom body calyx of the memory circuits. Our results illustrate a circuit architecture in which monosynaptic and multisynaptic connections from sensory inputs traverse onto output neurons via a series of converging paths.

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