We can learn a lot about how a neuronal networks could function by elucidating the wiring pattern of the network. This can be done by reconstructing the neurons in 3D and by mapping their synaptic connections, so that it becomes clear which neurons within the network can communicate with each other and how numerically strong the connections are. We aim to elucidate the wiring within the neuronal network of a locust’s collision detector. This detector is special because it enables the locust to avoid colliding with objects on a collision course, and we know that the avoidance reactions are mediated by two single linked neurons either side, termed LGMD1 and DCMD. The LGMD1 becomes excited whenever an object approaches the eye on a collision course. We also know that thousands of upstream neurons, from underneath the compound eye, contribute to the excitation of the LGMD1. But because these TmAs have very small processes, we yet have had no definite idea as to how they contribute to the LGMD1 excitation pattern. We assume that the TmAs signal changes in light levels in distinct facets of the compound eye and are able to inhibit each other to help the LGMD1 distinguish between approaching and passing objects. As we now have a novel, scanning electron microscope available to reconstruct entire neurons, we aim to reconstruct the TmAs and those neurons that pass signals onto them. We also aim to map their synaptic connections, to elucidate how the LGMD1 circuit works.
2019 - 2023