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Convergence of distinct subpopulations of mechanosensory neurons onto a neural circuit that elicits grooming

By Stefanie Hampel, Katharina Eichler, Daichi Yamada, Hyunsoo Kim, Mihoko Horigome, Romain Franconville, Davi D. Bock, Azusa Kamikouchi, Andrew M. Seeds

Posted 09 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.08.141341

Diverse subpopulations of mechanosensory neurons detect different mechanical forces and influence behavior. How these subpopulations connect with central circuits to influence behavior remains an important area of study. We previously discovered a neural circuit that elicits grooming of the Drosophila melanogaster antennae that is activated by an antennal mechanosensory chordotonal organ, the Johnstons organ (JO) (Hampel et al., 2015). Here, we describe anatomically and physiologically distinct JO mechanosensory neuron subpopulations and define how they interface with the circuit that elicits antennal grooming. We show that the subpopulations project to distinct zones in the brain and differ in their responses to mechanical stimulation of the antennae. Each subpopulation elicits grooming through direct synaptic connections with a single interneuron in the circuit, the dendrites of which span the different mechanosensory afferent projection zones. Thus, distinct JO subpopulations converge onto the same neural circuit to elicit a common behavioral response. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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