Open Close
Buhl, E., Kottler, B., Hodge, J.J.L., Hirth, F. (2021). Thermoresponsive motor behavior is mediated by ring neuron circuits in the central complex of Drosophila.  Sci. Rep. 11(1): 155.
FlyBase ID
Publication Type
Research paper

Insects are ectothermal animals that are constrained in their survival and reproduction by external temperature fluctuations which require either active avoidance of or movement towards a given heat source. In Drosophila, different thermoreceptors and neurons have been identified that mediate temperature sensation to maintain the animal's thermal preference. However, less is known how thermosensory information is integrated to gate thermoresponsive motor behavior. Here we use transsynaptic tracing together with calcium imaging, electrophysiology and thermogenetic manipulations in freely moving Drosophila exposed to elevated temperature and identify different functions of ellipsoid body ring neurons, R1-R4, in thermoresponsive motor behavior. Our results show that warming of the external surroundings elicits calcium influx specifically in R2-R4 but not in R1, which evokes threshold-dependent neural activity in the outer layer ring neurons. In contrast to R2, R3 and R4d neurons, thermogenetic inactivation of R4m and R1 neurons expressing the temperature-sensitive mutant allele of dynamin, shibireTS, results in impaired thermoresponsive motor behavior at elevated 31 °C. trans-Tango mediated transsynaptic tracing together with physiological and behavioral analyses indicate that integrated sensory information of warming is registered by neural activity of R4m as input layer of the ellipsoid body ring neuropil and relayed on to R1 output neurons that gate an adaptive motor response. Together these findings imply that segregated activities of central complex ring neurons mediate sensory-motor transformation of external temperature changes and gate thermoresponsive motor behavior in Drosophila.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC7794218 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Associated Information
Associated Files
Other Information
Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Sci. Rep.
    Scientific reports
    Data From Reference