Liste von Publikationen einer Abteilung

    • 2014
    • Chemical Senses
    • 6
    • Bitter-sweet processing in larval Drosophila
    • <p>"Sweet-" and "bitter-" tasting substances distinctively support attractive and aversive choice behavior, respectively, and therefore are thought to be processed by distinct pathways. Interestingly, electrophysiological recordings in adult Drosophila suggest that bitter and salty tastants, in addition to activating bitter, salt, or bitter/salt sensory neurons, can also inhibit sweet-sensory neurons. However, the behavioral significance of such a potential for combinatorial coding is little understood. Using larval Drosophila as a study case, we find that the preference towards fructose is inhibited when assayed in the background of the bitter tastant quinine. When testing the influence of quinine on the preference to other, equally preferred sweet tastants, we find that these sweet tastants differ in their susceptibility to be inhibited by quinine. Such stimulus specificity argues that the inhibitory effect of quinine is not due to general effects on locomotion or nausea. In turn, not all bitter tastants have the same potency to inhibit sweet preference; notably, their inhibitory potency is not determined by the strength of the avoidance of them. Likewise, equally avoided concentrations of sodium chloride differ in their potency to inhibit sugar preference. Furthermore, Gr33a-Gal4-positive neurons, while being necessary for bitter avoidance, are dispensable for inhibition of the sweet pathway. Thus, interactions across taste modalities are behaviorally significant and, as we discuss, arguably diverse in mechanism. These results suggest that the coding of tastants and the organization of gustatory behavior may be more combinatorial than is generally acknowledged.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84902983521&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2012
    • PLoS ONE
    • 7
    • e40525
    • Behavioural analyses of quinine processing in choice, feeding and learning of larval Drosophila
    • <p>Gustatory stimuli can support both immediate reflexive behaviour, such as choice and feeding, and can drive internal reinforcement in associative learning. For larval Drosophila, we here provide a first systematic behavioural analysis of these functions with respect to quinine as a study case of a substance which humans report as "tasting bitter". We describe the dose-effect functions for these different kinds of behaviour and find that a half-maximal effect of quinine to suppress feeding needs substantially higher quinine concentrations (2.0 mM) than is the case for internal reinforcement (0.6 mM). Interestingly, in previous studies (Niewalda et al. 2008, Schipanski et al 2008) we had found the reverse for sodium chloride and fructose/sucrose, such that dose-effect functions for those tastants were shifted towards lower concentrations for feeding as compared to reinforcement, arguing that the differences in dose-effect function between these behaviours do not reflect artefacts of the types of assay used. The current results regarding quinine thus provide a starting point to investigate how the gustatory system is organized on the cellular and/or molecular level to result in different behavioural tuning curves towards a bitter tastant.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84863635198&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2015
    • Royal Society Open Science
    • 5
    • 150120
    • A model for non-monotonic intensity coding
    • <p>Peripheral neurons of most sensory systems increase their response with increasing stimulus intensity. Behavioural responses, however, can be specific to some intermediate intensity level whose particular value might be innate or associatively learned. Learning such a preference requires an adjustable transformation from a monotonic stimulus representation at the sensory periphery to a non-monotonic representation for the motor command. How do neural systems accomplish this task? We tackle this general question focusing on odourintensity learning in the fruit fly, whose first- and second-order olfactory neurons show monotonic stimulus–response curves. Nevertheless, flies form associative memories specific to particular trained odour intensities. Thus, downstream of the first two olfactory processing layers, odour intensity must be re-coded to enable intensity-specific associative learning. We present a minimal, feed-forward, three-layer circuit, which implements the required transformation by combining excitation, inhibition, and, as a decisive third element, homeostatic plasticity. Key features of this circuit motif are consistent with the known architecture and physiology of the fly olfactory system, whereas alternative mechanisms are either not composed of simple, scalable building blocks or not compatible with physiological observations. The simplicity of the circuit and the robustness of its function under parameter changes make this computational motif an attractive candidate for tuneable non-monotonic intensity coding.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84955515821&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2014
    • Learning and Memory
    • 4
    • 232-252
    • Pain-relief learning in flies, rats, and man
    • <p>Memories relating to a painful, negative event are adaptive and can be stored for a lifetime to support preemptive avoidance, escape, or attack behavior. However, under unfavorable circumstances such memories can become overwhelmingly powerful. They may trigger excessively negative psychological states and uncontrollable avoidance of locations, objects, or social interactions. It is therefore obvious that any process to counteract such effects will be of value. In this context, we stress from a basic-research perspective that painful, negative events are "Janus-faced" in the sense that there are actually two aspects about them that are worth remembering: What made them happen and what made them cease. We review published findings from fruit flies, rats, and man showing that both aspects, respectively related to the onset and the offset of the negative event, induce distinct and oppositely valenced memories: Stimuli experienced before an electric shock acquire negative valence as they signal upcoming punishment, whereas stimuli experienced after an electric shock acquire positive valence because of their association with the relieving cessation of pain. We discuss how memories for such punishment- and relief-learning are organized, how this organization fits into the threat-imminence model of defensive behavior, and what perspectives these considerations offer for applied psychology in the context of trauma, panic, and nonsuicidal self-injury.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84898974527&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2013
    • Biology Letters
    • 4
    • Memory decay and susceptibility to amnesia dissociate punishment- from relief-learning
    • <p>Painful events shape future behaviour in twoways: stimuli associated with pain onset subsequently support learned avoidance (i.e. punishment-learning) because they signal future, upcoming pain. Stimuli associated with pain offset in turn signal relief and later on support learned approach (i.e. relief-learning). The relative strengths of such punishment- and relief-learning can be crucial for the adaptive organization of behaviour in the aftermath of painful events. Using Drosophila, we compare punishment- and relief-memories in terms of their temporal decay and sensitivity to retrograde amnesia. During the first 75 min following training, relief-memory is stable, whereas punishmentmemory decays to half of the initial score. By 24 h after training, however, relief-memory is lost, whereas a third of punishment-memory scores still remain. In accordance with such rapid temporal decay from 75 min on, retrograde amnesia erases relief-memory but leaves a half of punishment-memory scores intact. These findings suggest differential mechanistic bases for punishment- and relief-memory, thus offering possibilities for separately interfering with either of them.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84880768852&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2013
    • Journal of Experimental Biology
    • 9
    • 1552-1560
    • Olfactory memories are intensity specific in larval Drosophila
    • <p>Learning can rely on stimulus quality, stimulus intensity, or a combination of these. Regarding olfaction, the coding of odour quality is often proposed to be combinatorial along the olfactory pathway, and working hypotheses are available concerning short-term associative memory trace formation of odour quality. However, it is less clear how odour intensity is coded, and whether olfactory memory traces include information about the intensity of the learnt odour. Using odour-sugar associative conditioning in larval Drosophila, we first describe the dose-effect curves of learnability across odour intensities for four different odours (n-amyl acetate, 3-octanol, 1-octen-3-ol and benzaldehyde). We then chose odour intensities such that larvae were trained at an intermediate odour intensity, but were tested for retention with either that trained intermediate odour intensity, or with respectively higher or lower intensities. We observed a specificity of retention for the trained intensity for all four odours used. This adds to the appreciation of the richness in 'content' of olfactory short-term memory traces, even in a system as simple as larval Drosophila, and to define the demands on computational models of associative olfactory memory trace formation. We suggest two kinds of circuit architecture that have the potential to accommodate intensity learning, and discuss how they may be implemented in the insect brain.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84876845049&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2015
    • PLoS ONE
    • 5
    • e0126986
    • Genome-wide association analyses point to candidate genes for electric shock avoidance in Drosophila melanogaster
    • <p>Electric shock is a common stimulus for nociception-research and the most widely used reinforcement in aversive associative learning experiments. Yet, nothing is known about the mechanisms it recruits at the periphery. To help fill this gap, we undertook a genome-wide association analysis using 38 inbred Drosophila melanogaster strains, which avoided shock to varying extents. We identified 514 genes whose expression levels and/ or sequences covaried with shock avoidance scores. We independently scrutinized 14 of these genes using mutants, validating the effect of 7 of them on shock avoidance. This emphasizes the value of our candidate gene list as a guide for follow-up research. In addition, by integrating our association results with external protein-protein interaction data we obtained a shock avoidance-associated network of 38 genes. Both this network and the original candidate list contained a substantial number of genes that affect mechanosensory bristles, which are hairlike organs distributed across the fly's body. These results may point to a potential role for mechanosensory bristles in shock sensation. Thus, we not only provide a first list of candidate genes for shock avoidance, but also point to an interesting new hypothesis on nociceptive mechanisms.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84930617554&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2015
    • PLoS ONE
    • 10
    • e0139797
    • Reversing Stimulus Timing in Visual Conditioning Leads to Memories with Opposite Valence in Drosophila
    • <p>Animals need to associate different environmental stimuli with each other regardless of whether they temporally overlap or not. Drosophila melanogaster displays olfactory trace conditioning, where an odor is followed by electric shock reinforcement after a temporal gap, leading to conditioned odor avoidance. Reversing the stimulus timing in olfactory conditioning results in the reversal of memory valence such that an odor that follows shock is later on approached (i.e. relief conditioning). Here, we explored the effects of stimulus timing on memory in another sensory modality, using a visual conditioning paradigm. We found that flies form visual memories of opposite valence depending on stimulus timing and can associate a visual stimulus with reinforcement despite being presented with a temporal gap. These results suggest that associative memories with non-overlapping stimuli and the effect of stimulus timing on memory valence are shared across sensory modalities.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84947234388&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2016
    • Biology Letters
    • 12
    • Independent natural genetic variation of punishment-versus relief-memory
    • <p>A painful event establishes two opponent memories: cues that are associated with pain onset are remembered negatively, whereas cues that coincide with the relief at pain offset acquire positive valence. Such punishment-versus relief-memories are conserved across species, including humans, and the balance between them is critical for adaptive behaviour with respect to pain and trauma. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster as a study case, we found that both punishment-and relief-memories display natural variation across wild-derived inbred strains, but they do not covary, suggesting a considerable level of dissociation in their genetic effectors. This provokes the question whether there may be heritable inter-individual differences in the balance between these opponent memories in man, with potential psycho-clinical implications.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85008489957&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2017
    • Journal of Experimental Biology
    • 9
    • 1548-1553
    • Aversive olfactory associative memory loses odor specificity over time
    • <p>Avoiding associatively learned predictors of danger is crucial for survival. Aversive memories can, however, become counter-adaptive when they are overly generalized to harmless cues and contexts. In a fruit fly odor-electric shock associative memory paradigm, we found that learned avoidance lost its specificity for the trained odor and became general to novel odors within a day of training. We discuss the possible neural circuit mechanisms of this effect and highlight the parallelism to over-generalization of learned fear behavior after an incubation period in rodents and humans, with due relevance for posttraumatic stress disorder.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85019032189&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • Oliver Kobler
    • 2017
    • Nature Communications
    • 1
    • Functional architecture of reward learning in mushroom body extrinsic neurons of larval Drosophila
    • <p>The brain adaptively integrates present sensory input, past experience, and options for future action. The insect mushroom body exemplifies how a central brain structure brings about such integration. Here we use a combination of systematic single-cell labeling, connectomics, transgenic silencing, and activation experiments to study the mushroom body at single-cell resolution, focusing on the behavioral architecture of its input and output neurons (MBINs and MBONs), and of the mushroom body intrinsic APL neuron. Our results reveal the identity and morphology of almost all of these 44 neurons in stage 3 Drosophila larvae. Upon an initial screen, functional analyses focusing on the mushroom body medial lobe uncover sparse and specific functions of its dopaminergic MBINs, its MBONs, and of the GABAergic APL neuron across three behavioral tasks, namely odor preference, taste preference, and associative learning between odor and taste. Our results thus provide a cellular-resolution study case of how brains organize behavior.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85044220188&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2017
    • Journal of Experimental Biology
    • 13
    • 2452-2475
    • The Ol<sub>1</sub>mpiad
    • <p>Mapping brain function to brain structure is a fundamental task for neuroscience. For such an endeavour, the Drosophila larva is simple enough to be tractable, yet complex enough to be interesting. It features about 10,000 neurons and is capable of various taxes, kineses and Pavlovian conditioning. All its neurons are currently being mapped into a light-microscopical atlas, and Gal4 strains are being generated to experimentally access neurons one at a time. In addition, an electron microscopic reconstruction of its nervous system seems within reach. Notably, this electron microscope-based connectome is being drafted for a stage 1 larva - because stage 1 larvae are much smaller than stage 3 larvae. However, most behaviour analyses have been performed for stage 3 larvae because their larger size makes them easier to handle and observe. It is therefore warranted to either redo the electron microscopic reconstruction for a stage 3 larva or to survey the behavioural faculties of stage 1 larvae. We provide the latter. In a community-based approach we called the Ol<sub>1</sub>mpiad, we probed stage 1 Drosophila larvae for free locomotion, feeding, responsiveness to substrate vibration, gentle and nociceptive touch, burrowing, olfactory preference and thermotaxis, light avoidance, gustatory choice of various tastants plus odour-taste associative learning, as well as light/dark-electric shock associative learning. Quantitatively, stage 1 larvae show lower scores in most tasks, arguably because of their smaller size and lower speed. Qualitatively, however, stage 1 larvae perform strikingly similar to stage 3 larvae in almost all cases. These results bolster confidence in mapping brain structure and behaviour across developmental stages.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85022021680&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2018
    • Learning and Memory
    • 6
    • 247-257
    • Reinforcement signaling of punishment versus relief in fruit flies
    • <p>Painful events establish opponent memories: cues that precede pain are remembered negatively, whereas cues that follow pain, thus coinciding with relief are recalled positively. How do individual reinforcement-signaling neurons contribute to this "timing-dependent valence-reversal?" We addressed this question using an optogenetic approach in the fruit fly. Two types of fly dopaminergic neuron, each comprising just one paired cell, indeed established learned avoidance of odors that preceded their photostimulation during training, and learned approach to odors that followed the photostimulation. This is in striking parallel to punishment versus relief memories reinforced by a real noxious event. For only one of these neuron types, both effects were strong enough for further analyses. Notably, interfering with dopamine biosynthesis in these neurons partially impaired the punishing effect, but not the relieving after-effect of their photostimulation. We discuss how this finding constraints existing computational models of punishment versus relief memories and introduce a new model, which also incorporates findings from mammals. Furthermore, whether using dopaminergic neuron photostimulation or a real noxious event, more prolonged punishment led to stronger relief. This parametric feature of relief may also apply to other animals and may explain particular aspects of related behavioral dysfunction in humans.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85049198364&partnerID=8YFLogxK
    • 2019
    • Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
    • 114-120
    • Timing-dependent valence reversal
    • <p>Punishment feels bad, but relief upon its termination feels good. As a consequence of such timing-dependent valence reversal, memories of opposite valence can result from associating stimulus A with, for example, the occurrence of punishment (A−) versus punishment termination (−A): A− training results in aversive memory, but −A training in appetitive memory (corresponding effects exist for reward occurrence and termination). Whereas learning through the occurrence of punishment is well studied, much less is known about learning through its termination. Current research investigates how dopaminergic system function contributes to these processes in Drosophila, rats and humans. We argue that dopamine-related psychopathology may entail distortions in learning through punishment termination, and that this may contribute, for example, to non-suicidal self-injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.</p>
    • http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85059689433&partnerID=8YFLogxK
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