Transsynaptic Mapping of Second-Order Taste Neurons in Flies by trans-Tango
Mapping neural circuits across defined synapses is essential for understanding brain function. Here we describe trans-Tango, a technique for anterograde transsynaptic circuit tracing and manipulation. At the core of trans-Tango is a synthetic signaling pathway that is introduced into all neurons in the animal. This pathway converts receptor activation at the cell surface into reporter expression through site-specific proteolysis. Specific labeling is achieved by presenting a tethered ligand at the synapses of genetically defined neurons, thereby activating the pathway in their postsynaptic partners and providing genetic access to these neurons. We first validated trans-Tango in the Drosophila olfactory system and then implemented it in the gustatory system, where projections beyond the first-order receptor neurons are not fully characterized. We identified putative second-order neurons within the sweet circuit that include projection neurons targeting known neuromodulation centers in the brain. These experiments establish trans-Tango as a flexible platform for transsynaptic circuit analysis.
Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(17)30979-0
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