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Cell. 2016 Feb 25;164(5):1046-59. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.014.

Parallel Transformation of Tactile Signals in Central Circuits of Drosophila.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: rachel_wilson@hms.harvard.edu.

Abstract

To distinguish between complex somatosensory stimuli, central circuits must combine signals from multiple peripheral mechanoreceptor types, as well as mechanoreceptors at different sites in the body. Here, we investigate the first stages of somatosensory integration in Drosophila using in vivo recordings from genetically labeled central neurons in combination with mechanical and optogenetic stimulation of specific mechanoreceptor types. We identify three classes of central neurons that process touch: one compares touch signals on different parts of the same limb, one compares touch signals on right and left limbs, and the third compares touch and proprioceptive signals. Each class encodes distinct features of somatosensory stimuli. The axon of an individual touch receptor neuron can diverge to synapse onto all three classes, meaning that these computations occur in parallel, not hierarchically. Representing a stimulus as a set of parallel comparisons is a fast and efficient way to deliver somatosensory signals to motor circuits.

PMID:
26919434
PMCID:
PMC4879191
[Available on 2017-02-25]
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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