Bachelor of Science, University of Puerto Rico (2009)
Doctor of Philosophy, Univ of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2016)
Mechanosensory input during circuit formation shapes Drosophila motor behavior through patterned spontaneous network activity.
Current biology : CB
Neural activity sculpts circuit wiring in many animals. In vertebrates, patterned spontaneous network activity (PaSNA) generates sensory maps and establishes local circuits.1-3 However, it remains unclear how PaSNA might shape neuronal circuits and behavior in invertebrates. Previous work in the developing Drosophila embryo discovered intrinsic muscle activity that did not require synaptic transmission, and hence was myogenic, preceding PaSNA.4-6 These studies, however, monitored muscle movement, not neural activity, and were therefore unable to observe how myogenic activity might relate to subsequent neural network engagement. Here we use calcium imaging to directly record neural activity and characterize the emergence of PaSNA. We demonstrate that the spatiotemporal properties of PaSNA are highly stereotyped across embryos, arguing for genetic programming. Neural activity begins well before it becomes patterned, emerging during the myogenic stage. Remarkably, inhibition of mechanosensory input, as well as inhibition of muscle contractions, results in premature and excessive PaSNA, demonstrating that muscle movement serves as a brake on this process. Finally, transient mechanosensory inhibition during PaSNA, followed by quantitative modeling of larval behavior, shows that mechanosensory modulation during development is required for proper larval foraging. This work provides a foundation for using the Drosophila embryo to study the role of PaSNA in circuit formation, provides mechanistic insight into how PaSNA is entrained by motor activity, and demonstrates that spontaneous network activity is essential for locomotor behavior. These studies argue that sensory feedback during the earliest stages of circuit formation can sculpt locomotor behaviors through innate motor learning.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2021.08.022
View details for PubMedID 34478644