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Tai, C.Y., Chin, A.L., Chiang, A.S. (2021). Comprehensive map of visual projection neurons for processing ultraviolet information in the Drosophila brain.  J. Comp. Neurol. 529(8): 1988--2013.
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The brain perceives visual information and controls behavior depending on its underlying neural circuits. How UV information is represented and processed in the brain remains poorly understood. In Drosophila melanogaster, UV light is detected by the R7 photoreceptor that projects exclusively into the medulla layer 6 (M6). Herein, we imaged 28,768 single neurons and identified 238 visual projection neurons linking M6 to the central brain. Based on morphology and connectivity, these visual projection neurons were systematically classified into 94 cell types belonging to 12 families. Three tracts connected M6 in each optic lobe to the central brain: One dorsal tract linking to the ipsilateral lateral anterior optic tubercle (L-AOTU) and two medial tracts linking to the ipsilateral ventral medial protocerebrum (VMP) and the contralateral VMP. The M6 information was primarily represented in the L-AOTU. Each L-AOTU consisted of four columns that each contained three glomeruli. Each L-AOTU glomerulus received inputs from M6 subdomains and gave outputs to a glomerulus within the ellipsoid body dendritic region, suggesting specific processing of spatial information through the dorsal pathway. Furthermore, the middle columns of the L-AOTUs of both hemispheres were connected via the intertubercle tract, suggesting information integration between the two eyes. In contrast, an ascending neuron linked each VMP to all glomeruli in the bulb and the L-AOTU, bilaterally, suggesting general processing of information through the ventral pathway. Altogether, these diverse morphologies of the visual projection neurons suggested multi-dimensional processing of UV information through parallel and bilateral circuits in the Drosophila brain.

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PMC8049075 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    J. Comp. Neurol.
    Journal of Comparative Neurology
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