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Dopamine modulation of sensory processing and adaptive behavior in flies

Authors
  • Siju, K. P.1
  • De Backer, Jean-Francois1
  • Grunwald Kadow, Ilona C.1
  • 1 Technical University of Munich,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cell and Tissue Research
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 30, 2021
Volume
383
Issue
1
Pages
207–225
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00441-020-03371-x
PMID: 33515291
PMCID: PMC7873103
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Review
License
Unknown

Abstract

Behavioral flexibility for appropriate action selection is an advantage when animals are faced with decisions that will determine their survival or death. In order to arrive at the right decision, animals evaluate information from their external environment, internal state, and past experiences. How these different signals are integrated and modulated in the brain, and how context- and state-dependent behavioral decisions are controlled are poorly understood questions. Studying the molecules that help convey and integrate such information in neural circuits is an important way to approach these questions. Many years of work in different model organisms have shown that dopamine is a critical neuromodulator for (reward based) associative learning. However, recent findings in vertebrates and invertebrates have demonstrated the complexity and heterogeneity of dopaminergic neuron populations and their functional implications in many adaptive behaviors important for survival. For example, dopaminergic neurons can integrate external sensory information, internal and behavioral states, and learned experience in the decision making circuitry. Several recent advances in methodologies and the availability of a synaptic level connectome of the whole-brain circuitry of Drosophila melanogaster make the fly an attractive system to study the roles of dopamine in decision making and state-dependent behavior. In particular, a learning and memory center—the mushroom body—is richly innervated by dopaminergic neurons that enable it to integrate multi-modal information according to state and context, and to modulate decision-making and behavior.

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