The wind turned the arrow to the internal compass of fruit flies

Neuroscientists have found that inner compass of fruit flies takes into account the wind direction: when the air flow, the conventional needle of the compass moves like a fly turned in the opposite direction. The wind direction on the displacement of the two antennas of an insect neurons compute the type R, and then transmit information to the cells of the compass, where it is integrated with visual signals. Article published in the journal Neuron.

To return home by the shortest straight line, you must have an inner compass. In insects, for example, the role of the compass performs the Central complex of the brain, and in Drosophila inside this structure is the ring of neurons E-PG and its activity encodes the angular position of the fly.

To the internal compass to work effectively, it is necessary to compare with external benchmarks. An obvious example of such reference point is the sun, but it can be hidden behind the clouds and allows you to navigate at night. So the animals during navigation typically use several reference points, including the wind. If the wind direction is constant, then it can help not to go astray — just need to maintain a certain angle to the air flow.

Neuroscientists from Harvard medical school under the leadership of Rachel Wilson (Rachel Wilson) is checked, check whether Drosophila your compass with the direction of the wind. To start using calcium imaging recorded the activity of neurons recorded from the compass of the flies, which were abduwali the left, then right.

To enable the flow of air to the point of neuronal activity in E-PG “ran” around the ring, and when the Drosophila were blown by the wind, the excitation is concentrated in a certain part of rings, like the needle of a compass. When the flow direction of air is varied, the point of the activity jumped to another area, and when you turn off the wind again began to move. The sectors of ring neurons E-PG, which corresponded to a particular wind direction was constant in individuals, but differed from different flies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.