The Wiring Logic of an Identified Serotonergic Neuron That Spans Sensory Networks. uri icon


  • Serotonergic neurons project widely throughout the brain to modulate diverse physiological and behavioral processes. However, a single-cell resolution understanding of the connectivity of serotonergic neurons is currently lacking. Using a whole-brain EM dataset of a female Drosophila, we comprehensively determine the wiring logic of a broadly projecting serotonergic neuron (the CSDn) that spans several olfactory regions. Within the antennal lobe, the CSDn differentially innervates each glomerulus, yet surprisingly, this variability reflects a diverse set of presynaptic partners, rather than glomerulus-specific differences in synaptic output, which is predominately to local interneurons. Moreover, the CSDn has distinct connectivity relationships with specific local interneuron subtypes, suggesting that the CSDn influences distinct aspects of local network processing. Across olfactory regions, the CSDn has different patterns of connectivity, even having different connectivity with individual projection neurons that also span these regions. Whereas the CSDn targets inhibitory local neurons in the antennal lobe, the CSDn has more distributed connectivity in the LH, preferentially synapsing with principal neuron types based on transmitter content. Last, we identify individual novel synaptic partners associated with other sensory domains that provide strong, top-down input to the CSDn. Together, our study reveals the complex connectivity of serotonergic neurons, which combine the integration of local and extrinsic synaptic input in a nuanced, region-specific manner.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT All sensory systems receive serotonergic modulatory input. However, a comprehensive understanding of the synaptic connectivity of individual serotonergic neurons is lacking. In this study, we use a whole-brain EM microscopy dataset to comprehensively determine the wiring logic of a broadly projecting serotonergic neuron in the olfactory system of Drosophila Collectively, our study demonstrates, at a single-cell level, the complex connectivity of serotonergic neurons within their target networks, identifies specific cell classes heavily targeted for serotonergic modulation in the olfactory system, and reveals novel extrinsic neurons that provide strong input to this serotonergic system outside of the context of olfaction. Elucidating the connectivity logic of individual modulatory neurons provides a ground plan for the seemingly heterogeneous effects of modulatory systems.

publication date

  • August 12, 2020