MicroRNA-dependent control of sensory neuron function regulates posture behavior in Drosophila

Klann, Marleen, Issa, A Raouf, Pinho, Sofia and Alonso, Claudio R (2021) MicroRNA-dependent control of sensory neuron function regulates posture behavior in Drosophila. Journal of Neuroscience, 41 (40). pp. 8297-8308. ISSN 0270-6474

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All what we see, touch, hear, taste, or smell must first be detected by the sensory elements of our nervous system. Sensory neurons, therefore, represent a critical component in all neural circuits and their correct function is essential for the generation of behavior and adaptation to the environment. Here, we report that the evolutionarily-conserved microRNA (miRNA) miR-263b plays a key behavioral role in Drosophila melanogaster through effects on the function of larval sensory neurons. Several independent experiments (in 50:50 male:female populations) support this finding: First, miRNA expression analysis, via reporter expression and fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS)-quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis, demonstrate miR- 263b expression in larval sensory neurons. Second, behavioral tests in miR-263b null mutants show defects in self-righting, an innate and evolutionarily conserved posture-control behavior that allows larvae to rectify their position if turned upsidedown. Third, competitive inhibition of miR-263b in sensory neurons using a miR-263b "sponge"leads to self-righting defects. Fourth, systematic analysis of sensory neurons in miR-263b mutants shows no detectable morphologic defects in their stereotypic pattern, while genetically-encoded calcium sensors expressed in the sensory domain reveal a reduction in neural activity in miR-263b mutants. Fifth, miR-263b null mutants show reduced "touch-response"behavior and a compromised response to sound, both characteristic of larval sensory deficits. Furthermore, bioinformatic miRNA target analysis, gene expression assays, and behavioral phenocopy experiments suggest that miR-263b might exert its effects, at least in part, through repression of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor Atonal. Altogether, our study suggests a model in which miRNA-dependent control of transcription factor expression affects sensory function and behavior.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Animals, Drosophila melanogaster, Female, Male, MicroRNAs, Movement, Posture, Reflex, Righting, Sensory Receptor Cells
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 09:32
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 09:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103863

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