Identification of Dopaminergic Neurons That Can Both Establish Associative Memory and Acutely Terminate Its Behavioral Expression
2020-07-29, Schleyer, Michael, Weiglein, Aliće, Thoener, Juliane, Strauch, Martin, Hartenstein, Volker, Kantar Weigelt, Melisa, Schuller, Sarah, Saumweber, Timo, Eichler, Katharina, Rohwedder, Astrid, Merhof, Dorit, Zlatic, Marta, Thum, Andreas, Gerber, Bertram
An adaptive transition from exploring the environment in search of vital resources to exploiting these resources once the search was successful is important to all animals. Here we study the neuronal circuitry that allows larval Drosophila melanogaster of either sex to negotiate this exploration-exploitation transition. We do so by combining Pavlovian conditioning with high-resolution behavioral tracking, optogenetic manipulation of individually identified neurons, and EM data-based analyses of synaptic organization. We find that optogenetic activation of the dopaminergic neuron DAN-i1 can both establish memory during training and acutely terminate learned search behavior in a subsequent recall test. Its activation leaves innate behavior unaffected, however. Specifically, DAN-i1 activation can establish associative memories of opposite valence after paired and unpaired training with odor, and its activation during the recall test can terminate the search behavior resulting from either of these memories. Our results further suggest that in its behavioral significance DAN-i1 activation resembles, but does not equal, sugar reward. Dendrogram analyses of all the synaptic connections between DAN-i1 and its two main targets, the Kenyon cells and the mushroom body output neuron MBON-i1, further suggest that the DAN-i1 signals during training and during the recall test could be delivered to the Kenyon cells and to MBON-i1, respectively, within previously unrecognized, locally confined branching structures. This would provide an elegant circuit motif to terminate search on its successful completion.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the struggle for survival, animals have to explore their environment in search of food. Once food is found, however, it is adaptive to prioritize exploiting it over continuing a search that would now be as pointless as searching for the glasses you are wearing. This exploration-exploitation trade-off is important for animals and humans, as well as for technical search devices. We investigate which of the only 10,000 neurons of a fruit fly larva can tip the balance in this trade-off, and identify a single dopamine neuron called DAN-i1 that can do so. Given the similarities in dopamine neuron function across the animal kingdom, this may reflect a general principle of how search is terminated once it is successful.
Automated tracking and analysis of behavior in restrained insects
2015, Shen, Minmin, Szyszka, Paul, Deussen, Oliver, Galizia, C. Giovanni, Merhof, Dorit
Insect behavior is often monitored by human observers and measured in the form of binary responses. This procedure is time costly and does not allow a fine graded measurement of behavioral performance in individual animals. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a computer vision system which allows the automated tracking of body parts of restrained insects.
Our system crops a continuous video into separate shots with a static background. It then segments out the insect's head and preprocesses the detected moving objects to exclude detection errors. A Bayesian-based algorithm is proposed to identify the trajectory of each body part.
We demonstrate the application of this novel tracking algorithm by monitoring movements of the mouthparts and antennae of honey bees and ants, and demonstrate its suitability for analyzing the behavioral performance of individual bees using a common associative learning paradigm.
Comparison with existing methods
Our tracking system differs from existing systems in that it does not require each video to be labeled manually and is capable of tracking insects’ body parts even when working with low frame-rate videos. Our system can be generalized for other insect tracking applications.
Our system paves the ground for fully automated monitoring of the behavior of restrained insects and accounts for individual variations in graded behavior.
Optic radiation fiber tractography in glioma patients based on high angular resolution diffusion imaging with compressed sensing compared with diffusion tensor imaging : initial experience
2013, Kuhnt, Daniela, Bauer, Miriam H. A., Sommer, Jens, Merhof, Dorit, Nimsky, Christopher
Up to now, fiber tractography in the clinical routine is mostly based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). However, there are known drawbacks in the resolution of crossing or kissing fibers and in the vicinity of a tumor or edema. These restrictions can be overcome by tractography based on High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI) which in turn requires larger numbers of gradients resulting in longer acquisition times. Using compressed sensing (CS) techniques, HARDI signals can be obtained by using less non-collinear diffusion gradients, thus enabling the use of HARDI-based fiber tractography in the clinical routine.
Eight patients with gliomas in the temporal lobe, in proximity to the optic radiation (OR), underwent 3T MRI including a diffusion-weighted dataset with 30 gradient directions. Fiber tractography of the OR using a deterministic streamline algorithm based on DTI was compared to tractography based on reconstructed diffusion signals using HARDI+CS.
HARDI+CS based tractography displayed the OR more conclusively compared to the DTI-based results in all eight cases. In particular, the potential of HARDI+CS-based tractography was observed for cases of high grade gliomas with significant peritumoral edema, larger tumor size or closer proximity of tumor and reconstructed fiber tract.
Overcoming the problem of long acquisition times, HARDI+CS seems to be a promising basis for fiber tractography of the OR in regions of disturbed diffusion, areas of high interest in glioma
Evaluation of Diffusion-Tensor Imaging based Global Search and Tractography for Tumor Surgery close to the Language System
2013, Richter, Mirco, Zolal, Amir, Ganslandt, Oliver, Buchfelder, Michael, Nimsky, Christopher, Merhof, Dorit
Pre-operative planning and intra-operative guidance in neurosurgery require detailed information about the location of functional areas and their anatomo-functional connectivity. In particular, regarding the language system, post-operative deficits such as aphasia can be avoided. By combining functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging, the connectivity between functional areas can be reconstructed by tractography techniques that need to cope with limitations such as limited resolution and low anisotropic diffusion close to functional areas. Tumors pose particular challenges because of edema, displacement effects on brain tissue and infiltration of white matter. Under these conditions, standard fiber tracking methods reconstruct pathways of insufficient quality. Therefore, robust global or probabilistic approaches are required. In this study, two commonly used standard fiber tracking algorithms, streamline propagation and tensor deflection, were compared with a previously published global search, Gibbs tracking and a connection-oriented probabilistic tractography approach. All methods were applied to reconstruct neuronal pathways of the language system of patients undergoing brain tumor surgery, and control subjects. Connections between Broca and Wernicke areas via the arcuate fasciculus (AF) and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) were validated by a clinical expert to ensure anatomical feasibility, and compared using distance- and diffusion-based similarity metrics to evaluate their agreement on pathway locations. For both patients and controls, a strong agreement between all methods was observed regarding the location of the AF. In case of the IFOF however, standard fiber tracking and Gibbs tracking predominantly identified the inferior longitudinal fasciculus that plays a secondary role in semantic language processing. In contrast, global search resolved connections in almost every case via the IFOF which could be confirmed by probabilistic fiber tracking. The results show that regarding the language system, our global search is superior to clinically applied conventional fiber tracking strategies with results similar to time-consuming global or probabilistic approaches.
larvalign: Aligning Gene Expression Patterns from the Larval Brain of Drosophila melanogaster
2018-01, Muenzing, Sascha E. A., Strauch, Martin, Truman, James W., Bühler, Katja, Thum, Andreas, Merhof, Dorit
The larval brain of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a small, tractable model system for neuroscience. Genes for fluorescent marker proteins can be expressed in defined, spatially restricted neuron populations. Here, we introduce the methods for 1) generating a standard template of the larval central nervous system (CNS), 2) spatial mapping of expression patterns from different larvae into a reference space defined by the standard template. We provide a manually annotated gold standard that serves for evaluation of the registration framework involved in template generation and mapping. A method for registration quality assessment enables the automatic detection of registration errors, and a semi-automatic registration method allows one to correct registrations, which is a prerequisite for a high-quality, curated database of expression patterns. All computational methods are available within the larvalign software package: https://github.com/larvalign/larvalign/releases/tag/v1.0.
Discrimination of cell cycle phases in PCNA-immunolabeled cells
2015, Schönenberger, Felix, Deutzmann, Anja, Ferrando-May, Elisa, Merhof, Dorit
Protein function in eukaryotic cells is often controlled in a cell cycle-dependent manner. Therefore, the correct assignment of cellular phenotypes to cell cycle phases is a crucial task in cell biology research. Nuclear proteins whose localization varies during the cell cycle are valuable and frequently used markers of cell cycle progression. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a protein which is involved in DNA replication and has cell cycle dependent properties. In this work, we present a tool to identify cell cycle phases and in particular, sub-stages of the DNA replication phase (S-phase) based on the characteristic patterns of PCNA distribution. Single time point images of PCNA-immunolabeled cells are acquired using confocal and widefield fluorescence microscopy. In order to discriminate different cell cycle phases, an optimized processing pipeline is proposed. For this purpose, we provide an in-depth analysis and selection of appropriate features for classification, an in-depth evaluation of different classification algorithms, as well as a comparative analysis of classification performance achieved with confocal versus widefield microscopy images.
We show that the proposed processing chain is capable of automatically classifying cell cycle phases in PCNA-immunolabeled cells from single time point images, independently of the technique of image acquisition. Comparison of confocal and widefield images showed that for the proposed approach, the overall classification accuracy is slightly higher for confocal microscopy images.
Overall, automated identification of cell cycle phases and in particular, sub-stages of the DNA replication phase (S-phase) based on the characteristic patterns of PCNA distribution, is feasible for both confocal and widefield images.
Transition metal precipitates in mc Si : a new detection method using 3D-FIB
2013, Zuschlag, Annika, Schwab, Michail, Merhof, Dorit, Hahn, Giso
To investigate transition metal precipitates in Si, synchrotron based measurements, like micro x-ray fluorescence (μXRF) or detailed transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies, are usually necessary. Transition metals are among the most detrimental defects in multi-crystalline (mc) silicon material for solar cell applications, due to their impact on minority charge carrier lifetime and possible shunt formation. We present another possibility to investigate transition metal precipitates by 3-dimensional focused ion beam (3D-FIB) cutting using a combined scanning electron microscope (SEM) SEM-FIB-system. This method is able to detect transition metal precipitates down to 5 nm in radius and provides additional information about the 3D shape, size and spatial distribution of the precipitates.
Interactive tracking of insect posture
2016, Shen, Minmin, Li, Chen, Huang, Wei, Szyszka, Paul, Shirahama, Kimiaki, Grzegorzek, Marcin, Merhof, Dorit, Deussen, Oliver
In this paper, we present an association based tracking approach to track multiple insect body parts in a set of low frame-rate videos. The association is formulated as a MAP problem and solved by the Hungarian algorithm. Different from a traditional track-and-then-rectification scheme, this framework refines the tracking hypotheses in an interactive fashion: it integrates a key frame selection approach to minimize the number of frames for user correction while optimizing the final hypotheses. Given user correction, it takes user inputs to rectify the incorrect hypotheses on the other frames. Thus, the framework improves the tracking accuracy by introducing active key frame selection and interactive components, enabling a flexible strategy to achieve a trade-off between human effort and tracking precision. Given the refined tracks at a bounding box (BB) level, the tip of each body part is estimated, and multiple body parts in a BB are further differentiated. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the framework are verified on challenging video datasets for insect behavioral experiments.
Evaluation of a human neurite growth assay as specific screen for developmental neurotoxicants
2013-12, Krug, Anne K., Stiegler, Nina, Matt, Florian, Schönenberger, Felix, Merhof, Dorit, Leist, Marcel
Organ-specific in vitro toxicity assays are often highly sensitive, but they lack specificity. We evaluated here examples of assay features that can affect test specificity, and some general procedures are suggested on how positive hits in complex biological assays may be defined. Differentiating human LUHMES cells were used as potential model for developmental neurotoxicity testing. Forty candidate toxicants were screened, and several hits were obtained and confirmed. Although the cells had a definitive neuronal phenotype, the use of a general cell death endpoint in these cultures did not allow specific identification of neurotoxicants. As alternative approach, neurite growth was measured as an organ-specific functional endpoint. We found that neurite extension of developing LUHMES was specifically inhibited by diverse compounds such as colchicine, vincristine, narciclasine, rotenone, cycloheximide, or diquat. These compounds reduced neurite growth at concentrations that did not compromise cell viability, and neurite growth was affected more potently than the integrity of developed neurites of mature neurons. A ratio of the EC50 values of neurite growth inhibition and cell death of >4 provided a robust classifier for compounds associated with a developmental neurotoxic hazard. Screening of unspecific toxicants in the test system always yielded ratios <4. The assay identified also compounds that accelerated neurite growth, such as the rho kinase pathway modifiers blebbistatin or thiazovivin. The negative effects of colchicine or rotenone were completely inhibited by a rho kinase inhibitor. In summary, we suggest that assays using functional endpoints (neurite growth) can specifically identify and characterize (developmental) neurotoxicants.
The looks of an odour : visualising neural odour response patterns in real time
2013, Strauch, Martin, Müthing, Clemens, Broeg, Marc P., Szyszka, Paul, Münch, Daniel, Laudes, Thomas, Deussen, Oliver, Galizia, C. Giovanni, Merhof, Dorit
Calcium imaging in insects reveals the neural response to odours, both at the receptor level on the antenna and in the antennal lobe, the first stage of olfactory information processing in the brain. Changes of intracellular calcium concentration in response to odour presentations can be observed by employing calcium-sensitive, fluorescent dyes. The response pattern across all recorded units is characteristic for the odour.