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Inagaki H.K.,California Institute of Technology | Inagaki H.K.,Janelia Farm Research Campus | Panse K.M.,California Institute of Technology | Anderson D.J.,California Institute of Technology | Anderson D.J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Neuron | Year: 2014

An organism's behavioral decisions often depend upon the relative strength of appetitive and aversive sensory stimuli, the relative sensitivity to which can be modified by internal states like hunger. However, whether sensitivity to such opposing influences is modulated in a unidirectional or bidirectional manner is not clear. Starved flies exhibit increased sugar and decreased bitter sensitivity. It is widely believed that only sugar sensitivity changes, and that this masks bitter sensitivity. Here we use gene- and circuit-level manipulations to show that sweet and bitter sensitivity are independently and reciprocally regulated by starvation in Drosophila. We identify orthogonal neuromodulatory cascades that oppositely control peripheral taste sensitivity for each modality. Moreover, these pathways are recruited at increasing hunger levels, such that low-risk changes (higher sugar sensitivity) precede high-risk changes (lower sensitivity to potentially toxic resources). In this way, state-intensity-dependent, reciprocal regulation of appetitive and aversive peripheral gustatory sensitivity permits flexible, adaptive feeding decisions. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Sternson S.M.,Janelia Farm Research Campus
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2012

Mice lacking leptin receptors are grossly obese and diabetic, in part due to dysfunction in brain circuits important for energy homeostasis. Transplantation of leptin receptor-expressing hypothalamic progenitor neurons into the brains of leptin receptor deficient mice led to integration into neural circuits, reduced obesity, and normalized circulating glucose levels. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Finn R.D.,Janelia Farm Research Campus | Gardner P.P.,University of Canterbury | Bateman A.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2012

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is the most famous wiki in use today. It contains over 3.7 million pages of content; with many pages written on scientific subject matters that include peer-reviewed citations, yet are written in an accessible manner and generally reflect the consensus opinion of the community. In this, the 19th Annual Database Issue of Nucleic Acids Research, there are 11 articles that describe the use of a wiki in relation to a biological database. In this commentary, we discuss how biological databases can be integrated with Wikipedia, thereby utilising the pre-existing infrastructure, tools and above all, large community of authors (or Wikipedians). The limitations to the content that can be included in Wikipedia are highlighted, with examples drawn from articles found in this issue and other wiki-based resources, indicating why other wiki solutions are necessary. We discuss the merits of using open wikis, like Wikipedia, versus other models, with particular reference to potential vandalism. Finally, we raise the question about the future role of dedicated database biocurators in context of the thousands of crowdsourced, community annotations that are now being stored in wikis. © The Author(s) 2011.

Randel N.,Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology | Randel N.,Janelia Farm Research Campus | Jekely G.,Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2016

Vision allows animals to detect spatial differences in environmental light levels. High-resolution image-forming eyes evolved from low-resolution eyes via increases in photoreceptor cell number, improvements in optics and changes in the neural circuits that process spatially resolved photoreceptor input. However, the evolutionary origins of the first low-resolution visual systems have been unclear. We propose that the lowest resolving (two-pixel) visual systems could initially have functioned in visual phototaxis. During visual phototaxis, such elementary visual systems compare light on either side of the body to regulate phototactic turns. Another, even simpler and non-visual strategy is characteristic of helical phototaxis, mediated by sensory-motor eyespots. The recent mapping of the complete neural circuitry (connectome) of an elementary visual system in the larva of the annelid Platynereis dumerilii sheds new light on the possible paths from non-visual to visual phototaxis and to image-forming vision. We outline an evolutionary scenario focusing on the neuronal circuitry to account for these transitions.We also present a comprehensive reviewof the structure of phototactic eyes in invertebrate larvae and assign them to the non-visual and visual categories. We propose that non-visual systems may have preceded visual phototactic systems in evolution that in turn may have repeatedly served as intermediates during the evolution of image-forming eyes. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Stern D.L.,Janelia Farm Research Campus
BMC Biology | Year: 2014

Background: In a series of landmark papers, Kyriacou, Hall, and colleagues reported that the average inter-pulse interval of Drosophila melanogaster male courtship song varies rhythmically (KH cycles), that the period gene controls this rhythm, and that evolution of the period gene determines species differences in the rhythm's frequency. Several groups failed to recover KH cycles, but this may have resulted from differences in recording chamber size.Results: Here, using recording chambers of the same dimensions as used by Kyriacou and Hall, I found no compelling evidence for KH cycles at any frequency. By replicating the data analysis procedures employed by Kyriacou and Hall, I found that two factors - data binned into 10-second intervals and short recordings - imposed non-significant periodicity in the frequency range reported for KH cycles. Randomized data showed similar patterns.Conclusions: All of the results related to KH cycles are likely to be artifacts of binning data from short songs. Reported genotypic differences in KH cycles cannot be explained by this artifact and may have resulted from the use of small sample sizes and/or from the exclusion of samples that did not exhibit song rhythms. © 2014 Stern; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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