Faculté des sciences

Architecture of the primary taste center of Drosophila melanogaster larvae

Colomb, Julien ; Grillenzoni, Nicola ; Ramaekers, Ariane ; Stocker, Reinhard F.

In: The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2007, vol. 502, no. 5, p. 834-837

A simple nervous system combined with stereotypic behavioral responses to tastants, together with powerful genetic and molecular tools, have turned Drosophila larvae into a very promising model for studying gustatory coding. Using the Gal4/UAS system and confocal microscopy for visualizing gustatory afferents, we provide a description of the primary taste center in the larval central nervous... Plus

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    Summary
    A simple nervous system combined with stereotypic behavioral responses to tastants, together with powerful genetic and molecular tools, have turned Drosophila larvae into a very promising model for studying gustatory coding. Using the Gal4/UAS system and confocal microscopy for visualizing gustatory afferents, we provide a description of the primary taste center in the larval central nervous system. Essentially, gustatory receptor neurons target different areas of the subesophageal ganglion (SOG), depending on their segmental and sensory organ origin. We define two major and two smaller subregions in the SOG. One of the major areas is a target of pharyngeal sensilla, the other one receives inputs from both internal and external sensilla. In addition to such spatial organization of the taste center, circumstantial evidence suggests a subtle functional organization: aversive and attractive stimuli might be processed in the anterior and posterior part of the SOG, respectively. Our results also suggest less coexpression of gustatory receptors than proposed in prior studies. Finally, projections of putative second-order taste neurons seem to cover large areas of the SOG. These neurons may thus receive multiple gustatory inputs. This suggests broad sensitivity of secondary taste neurons, reminiscent of the situation in mammals.