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Title: The octopaminergic modulatory circuitry of the Drosophila larval mushroom body calyx
Author: Wong, Jin Yan Hilary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 0905
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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How are neuromodulatory networks organised to adapt sensory discrimination for different contexts? I hypothesised that neurons within a sensory circuit express different neuromodulatory receptors for differential modulation. Here I aimed to use the simple and genetically amenable Drosophila larval Mushroom Body (MB) calyx, a higher order processing area involved in learned odour discrimination, as a model to map octopamine (OA) neuromodulatory circuitry. I first identified olfactory projection neurons (PNs), a GABAergic feedback neuron and cholinergic extrinsic neurons as putative postsynaptic partners to OA neurons in the MB calyx using GFP reconstitution across synaptic partners. Next, I used novel EGFP-tagged OA receptors generated from recombination-mediated cassette exchange with MiMIC insertions in receptor genes to visualise endogenous expression patterns of OA receptors. Most notably, this is the first report of α2-adrenergic-like OA receptor localisation in any insect. For the first time, I showed that the α1-adrenergic-like OAMB localised to PN presynaptic terminals in the calyx; while Octβ1R localised diffusely in the calyx, resembling the innervation pattern of MB neuron dendrites. I detected EGFP-tagged Octα2R and Octβ2R in some PN cell bodies but not in neuron terminals - suggesting that Octα2R and Octβ2R may be expressed in some PNs, provided the misfolded fusion proteins are retained in the cell bodies of the neurons they are normally expressed in. Furthermore, I found that Octα2R and GABAAR fusion proteins localised to OA cell bodies but not to neuronal terminals, suggesting that OA neurons are subjected to inhibition, again given that these are not artefacts of the fusion proteins. To obtain tools to study OA modulation in the larval calyx, I then confirmed the expression patterns of driver lines that more specifically labelled calyx-innervating OA and extrinsic neurons, and tested the efficacy of three OAMB receptor knockdown lines. This initial attempt of mapping OA receptors, while subjected to further verification and development, is consistent with my hypothesis that a single neuromodulatory source can regulate multiple neuronal types in the same circuit through the distribution of different types of neuromodulatory receptors. This provides a new perspective in how the anatomical organisation of neuromodulation within a sensory network may translate to flexible outputs.
Supervisor: Masuda-Nakagawa, Liria Sponsor: Medical Research Council ; Cambridge Philosophical Society ; Fitzwilliam College ; Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Drosophila ; Neuromodulation ; Octopamine ; Octopamine Receptors ; Neural Circuitry ; Sensory Discrimination ; EGFP-tagged Receptors ; MiMIC ; Receptor Localisation ; GRASP ; Drosophila Larvae ; Mushroom Body ; MB Calyx ; OAMB ; OctbR ; Octa2R