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Keywords:

  • UV circuit;
  • vision;
  • retinotopic map

ABSTRACT

Local neurons in the vertebrate retina are instrumental in transforming visual inputs to extract contrast, motion, and color information and in shaping bipolar-to-ganglion cell transmission to the brain. In Drosophila, UV vision is represented by R7 inner photoreceptor neurons that project to the medulla M6 stratum, with relatively little known of this downstream substrate. Here, using R7 terminals as references, we generated a 3D volume model of the M6 stratum, which revealed a retinotopic map for UV representations. Using this volume model as a common 3D framework, we compiled and analyzed the spatial distributions of more than 200 single M6-specific local neurons (M6-LNs). Based on the segregation of putative dendrites and axons, these local neurons were classified into two families, directional and nondirectional. Neurotransmitter immunostaining suggested a signal routing model in which some visual information is relayed by directional M6-LNs from the anterior to the posterior M6 and all visual information is inhibited by a diverse population of nondirectional M6-LNs covering the entire M6 stratum. Our findings suggest that the Drosophila medulla M6 stratum contains diverse LNs that form repeating functional modules similar to those found in the vertebrate inner plexiform layer. J. Comp. Neurol. 522:3795–3816, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.