Munich Neuroscience Calendar


04.04.2019, 10:00 Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
until 11:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: John Tuthill
Institute: University of Washington

Title: Neural mechanisms of proprioception and motor control in Drosophila

Seminar room, bldg. 4
82319 Seewiesen

Host: Maude Baldwin
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Animals rely on an internal sense of body position and movement to effectively control motor behavior. This sense of proprioception is mediated by diverse populations of internal mechanosensory neurons distributed throughout the body. My lab is trying to understand how proprioceptive stimuli are detected by sensory neurons, integrated and transformed in the brain, and used to guide motor output. We approach these questions using genetic tools, in vivo two-photon imaging, and patch-clamp electrophysiology in the fruit fly, Drosophila. We recently found that fly leg proprioceptors are organized into distinct functional projections that contain topographic representations of specific kinematic features: one group of axons encodes tibia position, another encodes movement direction, and a third encodes bidirectional movement and vibration frequency. Overall, our findings reveal how a low-dimensional stimulus – the angle of a single leg joint – is encoded by a diverse population of mechanosensory neurons. This architecture may help to maximize information transmission, processing speed, and robustness, which are critical for feedback control of the limbs during adaptive locomotion.

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