Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis

Linjiao Luo, Marc Gershow, Mark Rosenzweig, KyeongJin Kang, Christopher Fang-Yen, Paul A. Garrity, Aravinthan D T Samuel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    A mechanistic understanding of animal navigation requires quantitative assessment of the sensorimotor strategies used during navigation and quantitative assessment of how these strategies are regulated by cellular sensors. Here, we examine thermotactic behavior of the Drosophila melanogaster larva using a tracking microscope to study individual larval movements on defined temperature gradients. We discover that larval thermotaxis involves a larger repertoire of strategies than navigation in smaller organisms such as motile bacteria and Caenorhabditis elegans. Beyond regulating run length (i.e., biasing a random walk), the Drosophila melanogaster larva also regulates the size and direction of turns to achieve and maintain favorable orientations. Thus, the sharp turns in a larva's trajectory represent decision points for selecting new directions of forward movement. The larva uses the same strategies to move up temperature gradients during positive thermotaxis and to move down temperature gradients during negative thermotaxis. Disrupting positive thermotaxis by inactivating cold-sensitive neurons in the larva's terminal organ weakens all regulation of turning decisions, suggesting that information from one set of temperature sensors is used to regulate all aspects of turning decisions. The Drosophila melanogaster larva performs thermotaxis by biasing stochastic turning decisions on the basis of temporal variations in thermosensory input, thereby augmenting the likelihood of heading toward favorable temperatures at all times.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4261-4272
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience
    Volume30
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 24 2010

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    Drosophila
    Larva
    Decision Making
    Drosophila melanogaster
    Temperature
    Caenorhabditis elegans
    Taxis Response
    Bacteria
    Neurons
    Direction compound

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)

    Cite this

    Luo, L., Gershow, M., Rosenzweig, M., Kang, K., Fang-Yen, C., Garrity, P. A., & Samuel, A. D. T. (2010). Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(12), 4261-4272. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4090-09.2010

    Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis. / Luo, Linjiao; Gershow, Marc; Rosenzweig, Mark; Kang, KyeongJin; Fang-Yen, Christopher; Garrity, Paul A.; Samuel, Aravinthan D T.

    In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 30, No. 12, 24.03.2010, p. 4261-4272.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Luo, L, Gershow, M, Rosenzweig, M, Kang, K, Fang-Yen, C, Garrity, PA & Samuel, ADT 2010, 'Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 4261-4272. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4090-09.2010
    Luo L, Gershow M, Rosenzweig M, Kang K, Fang-Yen C, Garrity PA et al. Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Mar 24;30(12):4261-4272. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4090-09.2010
    Luo, Linjiao ; Gershow, Marc ; Rosenzweig, Mark ; Kang, KyeongJin ; Fang-Yen, Christopher ; Garrity, Paul A. ; Samuel, Aravinthan D T. / Navigational decision making in Drosophila thermotaxis. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 ; Vol. 30, No. 12. pp. 4261-4272.
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