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Neuron. 2015 Feb 18;85(4):819-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.005. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Secondary taste neurons that convey sweet taste and starvation in the Drosophila brain.

Author information

1
Department of Entomology, Institute of Integrative Genome Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.
2
Department of Entomology, Institute of Integrative Genome Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA. Electronic address: anupama.dahanukar@ucr.edu.

Abstract

The gustatory system provides vital sensory information to determine feeding and appetitive learning behaviors. Very little is known, however, about higher-order gustatory circuits in the highly tractable model for neurobiology, Drosophila melanogaster. Here we report second-order sweet gustatory projection neurons (sGPNs) in the Drosophila brain using a powerful behavioral screen. Silencing neuronal activity reduces appetitive behaviors, whereas inducible activation results in food acceptance via proboscis extensions. sGPNs show functional connectivity with Gr5a(+) sweet taste neurons and are activated upon sucrose application to the labellum. By tracing sGPN axons, we identify the antennal mechanosensory and motor center (AMMC) as an immediate higher-order processing center for sweet taste. Interestingly, starvation increases sucrose sensitivity of the sGPNs in the AMMC, suggesting that hunger modulates the responsiveness of the secondary sweet taste relay. Together, our results provide a foundation for studying gustatory processing and its modulation by the internal nutrient state.

PMID:
25661186
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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