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Even-skipped+ interneurons are core components of a sensorimotor circuit that maintains left-right symmetric muscle contraction amplitude

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Author(s)

Ellie Heckscher, Aref Zarin, Serge Faumont, Matthew Clark, Laurina Manning, Akira Fushiki, Casey Schneider-Mizell, Richard D. Fetter, James Truman, Maarten F. Zwart, Matthias Landgraf, Albert Cardona, Shawn Lockery, Chris Doe

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Abstract

Bilaterally symmetric motor patterns—those in which left-right pairs of muscles contract synchronously and with equal amplitude (such as breathing, smiling, whisking, and locomotion)—are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the underlying neural circuits. We performed a thermogenetic screen to identify neurons required for bilaterally symmetric locomotion in Drosophila larvae and identified the evolutionarily conserved Even-skipped+ interneurons (Eve/Evx). Activation or ablation of Eve+ interneurons disrupted bilaterally symmetric muscle contraction amplitude, without affecting the timing of motor output. Eve+ interneurons are not rhythmically active and thus function independently of the locomotor CPG. GCaMP6 calcium imaging of Eve+ interneurons in freely moving larvae showed left-right asymmetric activation that correlated with larval behavior. TEM reconstruction of Eve+ interneuron inputs and outputs showed that the Eve+ interneurons are at the core of a sensorimotor circuit capable of detecting and modifying body wall muscle contraction.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-329
JournalNeuron
Volume88
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015

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