Breaking News
April 18, 2019 - Scientists enter research collaboration to find a cure for cancer
April 18, 2019 - Study to compare benefits of tai chi and mindfulness meditation on MS symptoms
April 18, 2019 - Gestational diabetes during pregnancy may increase risk of type 1 diabetes in children
April 18, 2019 - Is a New Remedy for Body Odor on the Horizon?
April 18, 2019 - Orthostatic hypotension – Genetics Home Reference
April 18, 2019 - Healing the heartbreak of stillbirth and newborn death
April 18, 2019 - Conference to highlight advances in human immune monitoring, bioinformatics | News Center
April 18, 2019 - Bacteria use viruses for self-recognition, study reveals
April 18, 2019 - New adhesive patch could help reduce post-heart attack muscle damage
April 18, 2019 - Researchers analyze the effects of dark play in a serious video game
April 18, 2019 - Filial cannibalism and offspring abandonment may be forms of parental care
April 18, 2019 - Two proteins act in concert to maintain a healthy heart in mice, shows study
April 18, 2019 - Scientists create a functioning 3D printed heart
April 18, 2019 - Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation improves disease symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
April 18, 2019 - Majority of men struggle to understand diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer
April 18, 2019 - Researchers create new small molecules that may combat equine encephalitis viruses
April 18, 2019 - Animal-assisted therapy improves social behavior in patients with brain injuries
April 18, 2019 - Some viruses help protect harmful bacteria in CF patients | News Center
April 18, 2019 - Outpatient healthcare providers inappropriately prescribe antibiotics to 40% of patients
April 18, 2019 - Men who have a resting heart rate of 75 bpm are twice as likely to die early
April 18, 2019 - Novel serum biomarkers to detect NAFLD-related fibrosis
April 18, 2019 - New study delves deeper into individual genomic differences than ever before
April 18, 2019 - Gilead and Galapagos Announce Filgotinib Meets Primary Endpoint in the Phase 3 FINCH 3 Study in Methotrexate-Naïve Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
April 18, 2019 - Emotional mirror neurons found in rats
April 18, 2019 - Sylvia Plevritis appointed chair of biomedical data science | News Center
April 18, 2019 - Yeast strain provides manufacturing boost to low-calorie sweetener derived from lactose
April 18, 2019 - C-Path and CDISC release global Therapeutic Area Standard for HIV research
April 18, 2019 - Integrating AI to analyze imaging data allows early recognition of heart disease
April 18, 2019 - Low-cost, high-speed algorithm may allow animal-free chemical toxicity testing
April 18, 2019 - HPV-negative cervical cancers are more aggressive with worse prognosis
April 18, 2019 - AI detects prostate cancer with same level of accuracy as experienced radiologists
April 18, 2019 - Study resolves sex differences in psychiatric illness risk
April 18, 2019 - Novartis Announces FDA Filing Acceptance and Priority Review of Brolucizumab (RTH258) for Patients with Wet AMD
April 18, 2019 - Cocktail of common antibiotics can fight resistant E. coli
April 18, 2019 - Persis Drell to give keynote address at medical school diploma ceremony | News Center
April 18, 2019 - EpicTogether: Remembering Our Why
April 18, 2019 - Study identifies novel loci contributing to asthma susceptibility in adults
April 18, 2019 - Gut bacteria and pregnancy
April 18, 2019 - New study finds that screening could help prevent rare types of cervical cancer
April 17, 2019 - Spatial orgnization of the genome can be altered using small molecules
April 17, 2019 - AEDs Tied to Higher Pneumonia Risk in Alzheimer Patients
April 17, 2019 - Telemedicine tied to more antibiotics for kids, study finds
April 17, 2019 - Two medical students awarded 2019 Soros Fellowships for New Americans | News Center
April 17, 2019 - Sociologist Constance A. Nathanson Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
April 17, 2019 - Empathy and hormones could account for aggressive behavior in children, shows study
April 17, 2019 - Researchers develop oral appliance to help sufferers of sleep apnea
April 17, 2019 - Neuronal transport factor detects its target transcripts in more complex manner than previously thought
April 17, 2019 - New drug-delivery system senses high oxidant levels, responds to body chemistry and environment
April 17, 2019 - Health Tip: Horseback Trail Riding Safety
April 17, 2019 - Scientists outline the promises and pitfalls of machine learning in medicine
April 17, 2019 - $12 million grant renewal for flu vaccine research | News Center
April 17, 2019 - Lisa Kachnic, MD, Joins Columbia University as Chair of Radiation Oncology
April 17, 2019 - New study sheds light on how extreme temperature hampers spermatogenesis in insects
April 17, 2019 - Study tests high-tech, non-pharmaceutical way to address ADHD and distractibility
April 17, 2019 - New EZ-2 evaporator for clinical biochemistry sample preparation
April 17, 2019 - Fat shaming celebrities may make women more judgemental about being overweight
April 17, 2019 - Magic mouthwash effectively reduces mouth sore pain caused by radiation therapy
April 17, 2019 - CBD could help slip medications into the brain
April 17, 2019 - Scientists characterize 2017 pneumonic plague outbreak in Madagascar
April 17, 2019 - Human iPSC-derived MSCs from aged individuals acquire a rejuvenation signature
April 17, 2019 - Gun Research Is Suddenly Hot
April 17, 2019 - Employee wellness programs provide little health benefits
April 17, 2019 - Cannabis users could be more tolerant to anesthesia agents
April 17, 2019 - Study suggests new approach to treat renal fibrosis
April 17, 2019 - Green roofs may improve indoor air quality, study shows
April 17, 2019 - Selumetinib Granted U.S. Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Neurofibromatosis Type 1
April 17, 2019 - Fasting-mimicking diet holds promise for treating people with inflammatory bowel disease
April 17, 2019 - Daily cannabis use significantly higher among individuals with serious psychological distress
April 17, 2019 - Victims of bullying have greater chances of mental health problems, unemployment in later life
April 17, 2019 - Strategies to achieve greater vaccination coverage throughout Europe
April 17, 2019 - Online atlas created to identify, classify protein signatures present at AML diagnosis
April 17, 2019 - £1.8 million award to boost Crohn’s disease research
April 17, 2019 - Oxytocin blocks excess drinking in alcohol-dependent rats
April 17, 2019 - Rutgers researchers identify new factor essential for maintaining stem cells in the brain and gut
April 17, 2019 - Universal late pregnancy ultrasound improves health of mothers, babies and could be cost saving
April 17, 2019 - Cosmo Pharmaceuticals Announces Submission of Remimazolam NDA to FDA
April 17, 2019 - Stopping inflammation from becoming chronic
April 17, 2019 - Planned Parenthood’s ‘Risky Strategy’ To Update Its Image
April 17, 2019 - Common sleep myths may pose a significant public health threat
April 17, 2019 - Indicators of despair rising among Americans entering midlife
Columbia researchers identify nerve cells that drive fruit fly’s escape behavior

Columbia researchers identify nerve cells that drive fruit fly’s escape behavior

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Columbia University researchers have identified the nerve cells that initiate a fly’s escape response: that complex series of movements in which an animal senses, and quickly maneuvers away from, something harmful such as high heat. These results, based on observations in fruit fly larvae, provide a window into a survival mechanism so important that it has persisted across evolutionary time, and today exists in virtually all animals — including in people. They also lend insight into conditions characterized by dysfunctions in this response, such as allodynia, in which gentle touch triggers the same reaction as exposure to something harmful.

The study was published this week in the journal eLife.

“Protecting ourselves from danger is a critical tool for survival that we employ all the time, whether it’s yanking our hand away from a hot stovetop, or ducking our head to avoid a low ceiling,” said neuroscientist Wesley Grueber, PhD, a principal investigator at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the paper’s senior author.

“These movements are quick, but complex, so teasing apart the brain activity that guides them has long proven difficult,” he continued. “With today’s findings, we can now confirm which nerve cells in flies orchestrate this process, bringing us closer to understanding the brain mechanisms that guide this essential behavior that evolved to keep us safe.”

In broad terms, the steps that dictate a fly’s escape can be divided into two parts: first the animal detects danger and then it reacts to it. Previous work found that specialized nerve cells in the animal’s sensory system, known as nociceptive neurons, act as detectors, switching on in the presence of danger and alerting flies to make their escape, first by bending themselves into a c-shape and then rolling out of harm’s way.

“The question for us then became: How do these nociceptive neurons send information back to the brain, and how does this result in the animal’s escape?” asked Anita Burgos, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Grueber Lab and the paper’s first author.

To find out, the team used a revolutionary technique known as electron microscopy (EM) reconstruction. EM reconstruction allows researchers to visualize the pathways that link different neurons — like tracing the route between two cities on a road map.

By following the route nociceptive neurons took toward the brain, the researchers saw that the neuronal branches all terminated in the same region of the ventral nerve cord (the fly equivalent of our spinal cord). Upon closer inspection, the team found that this region was largely home to one type of cell: down-and-back neurons, so named because of their curved shape.

This discovery offered strong evidence that down-and-back neurons may be the key to the fly’s escape response. To confirm this, the researchers used genetics to manipulate the activity of down-and-back neurons, and observed their resulting behavior.

“When we switched on the down-and-back neurons, the flies performed the classic bend-and-roll escape even in the absence of harm,” said Dr. Burgos. “But when we silenced those same neurons, the animals could still sense danger, but couldn’t escape it. Their bodies wouldn’t bend correctly; and were also unable to roll away. Somehow, down-and-back neurons were driving both of these behaviors — bending and rolling — almost simultaneously.”

Further experiments revealed how it worked. Upon receiving a danger signal from the nociceptive neurons, down-and-back neurons sent two sets of instructions to the animals’ muscles — one that initiated the bend, and a second that initiated the roll. At first, it seemed counterintuitive for the same set of neurons to be in charge of driving two different types of movement.

“But in fact, the cellular activity we witnessed is an evolutionary solution for accomplishing the virtually limitless permutations of behaviors that animals can perform — a way for the brain to reuse the same neurons to perform different, but related, duties,” said Dr. Grueber, who is also associate professor of physiology & cellular biophysics and neuroscience at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

“Even in a very simple organism such as the fly, we’re just beginning to understand how distinct movements are strung together into complex sequences,” added Dr. Burgos, “This new study is a significant step towards understanding any complex behavior that is made up of simpler actions that are linked together in sequence, such as human speech.”

The detailed mapping of brain circuits in this study may also provide insights into the mechanisms that guide the sensing abilities of other species, including people.

“This could ultimately be important for understanding how touch and pain are sensed separately, and how the two senses may become conflated in conditions such as allodynia, in which even the gentlest touch is interpreted as painful or dangerous,” said Dr. Grueber.

Source:

https://zuckermaninstitute.columbia.edu/columbia-scientists-locate-nerve-cells-enable-fruit-flies-escape-danger

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles