Reconstruction of motor control circuits in adult Drosophila using automated transmission electron microscopy

Citation:

Phelps JS, Hildebrand DGC, Graham BJ, Kuan AT, Thomas LA, Nguyen TM, Buhmann J, Azevedo AW, Sustar A, Agrawal S, et al. Reconstruction of motor control circuits in adult Drosophila using automated transmission electron microscopy. Cell [Internet]. 2021;184 (3) :759-774.

Abstract:

Many animals use coordinated limb movements to interact with and navigate through the environment. To investigate circuit mechanisms underlying locomotor behavior, we used serial-section electron microscopy (EM) to map synaptic connectivity within a neuronal network that controls limb movements. We present a synapse-resolution EM dataset containing the ventral nerve cord (VNC) of an adult female Drosophila melanogaster. To generate this dataset, we developed GridTape, a technology that combines automated serial-section collection with automated high-throughput transmission EM. Using this dataset, we reconstructed 507 motor neurons, including all those that control the legs and wings. We show that a specific class of leg sensory neurons directly synapse onto the largest-caliber motor neuron axons on both sides of the body, representing a unique feedback pathway for fast limb control. We provide open access to the dataset and reconstructions registered to a standard atlas to permit matching of cells between EM and light microscopy data. We also provide GridTape instrumentation designs and software to make large-scale EM data acquisition more accessible and affordable to the scientific community.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 04/07/2021