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Nature. 2013 Aug 8;500(7461):175-81. doi: 10.1038/nature12450.

A visual motion detection circuit suggested by Drosophila connectomics.

Author information

1
Janelia Farm Research Campus, HHMI, Ashburn, Virginia 20147, USA.

Abstract

Animal behaviour arises from computations in neuronal circuits, but our understanding of these computations has been frustrated by the lack of detailed synaptic connection maps, or connectomes. For example, despite intensive investigations over half a century, the neuronal implementation of local motion detection in the insect visual system remains elusive. Here we develop a semi-automated pipeline using electron microscopy to reconstruct a connectome, containing 379 neurons and 8,637 chemical synaptic contacts, within the Drosophila optic medulla. By matching reconstructed neurons to examples from light microscopy, we assigned neurons to cell types and assembled a connectome of the repeating module of the medulla. Within this module, we identified cell types constituting a motion detection circuit, and showed that the connections onto individual motion-sensitive neurons in this circuit were consistent with their direction selectivity. Our results identify cellular targets for future functional investigations, and demonstrate that connectomes can provide key insights into neuronal computations.

PMID:
23925240
PMCID:
PMC3799980
DOI:
10.1038/nature12450
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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