Neonicotinoid exposure disrupts bumblebee nest behavior, social networks, and thermoregulation

November 9, 2018

Crall JD, Switzer CM, Oppenheimer RL, Ford Versypt AN, Dey B, Brown A, Eyster M, Guérin C, Pierce NE, Combes SA, de Bivort BL


Neonicotinoid pesticides can negatively affect bee colonies, but the behavioral mechanisms by which these compounds impair colony growth remain unclear. Here, we investigate imidacloprid's effects on bumblebee worker behavior within the nest, using an automated, robotic platform for continuous, multicolony monitoring of uniquely identified workers. We find that exposure to field-realistic levels of imidacloprid impairs nursing and alters social and spatial dynamics within nests, but that these effects vary substantially with time of day. In the field, imidacloprid impairs colony thermoregulation, including the construction of an insulating wax canopy. Our results show that neonicotinoids induce widespread disruption of within-nest worker behavior that may contribute to impaired growth, highlighting the potential of automated techniques for characterizing the multifaceted, dynamic impacts of stressors on behavior in bee colonies.


Molecular, spatial and functional single-cell profiling of the hypothalamic preoptic region

November 1, 2018

Moffitt JR, Bambah-Mukku D, Eichhorn SW, Vaughn E, Shekhar K, Perez JD, Rubinstein ND, Hao J, Regev A, Dulac C, Zhuang X

The hypothalamus controls essential social behaviors and homeostatic functions. However, the cellular architecture of hypothalamic nuclei, including the molecular identity, spatial organization, and function of distinct cell types, is poorly understood. Here, we developed an imaging-based in situ cell type identification and mapping method and combined it with single-cell RNA-sequencing to create a molecularly annotated and spatially resolved cell atlas of the mouse hypothalamic preoptic region. We profiled ~1 million cells, identified ~70 neuronal populations characterized by distinct neuromodulatory signatures and spatial organizations, and defined specific neuronal populations activated during social behaviors in male and female mice, providing a high-resolution framework for mechanistic investigation of behavior circuits. The approach described opens a new avenue for the construction of cell atlases in diverse tissues and organisms.


Congratulations to Xiaowei Zhuang: 2019 Breakthrough Prize winner!

October 17, 2018

Mid-level visual features underlie the high-level categorical organization of the ventral stream.

August 31, 2018

Long B, Yu CP, Konkle T

Human object-selective cortex shows a large-scale organization characterized by the high-level properties of both animacy and object size. To what extent are these neural responses explained by primitive perceptual features that distinguish animals from objects and big objects from small objects? To address this question, we used a texture synthesis algorithm to create a class of stimuli-texforms-which preserve some mid-level texture and form information from objects while rendering them unrecognizable. We found that unrecognizable texforms were sufficient to elicit the large-scale organizations of object-selective cortex along the entire ventral pathway. Further, the structure in the neural patterns elicited by texforms was well predicted by curvature features and by intermediate layers of a deep convolutional neural network, supporting the mid-level nature of the representations. These results provide clear evidence that a substantial portion of ventral stream organization can be accounted for by coarse texture and form information without requiring explicit recognition of intact objects.

A method for single-neuron chronic recording from the retina in awake mice.

June 29, 2018

Hong G, Fu TM, Qiao M, Viveros RD, Yang X, Zhou T, Lee JM, Park HG, Sanes JR, Lieber CM

The retina, which processes visual information and sends it to the brain, is an excellent model for studying neural circuitry. It has been probed extensively ex vivo but has been refractory to chronic in vivo electrophysiology. We report a nonsurgical method to achieve chronically stable in vivo recordings from single retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in awake mice. We developed a noncoaxial intravitreal injection scheme in which injected mesh electronics unrolls inside the eye and conformally coats the highly curved retina without compromising normal eye functions. The method allows 16-channel recordings from multiple types of RGCs with stable responses to visual stimuli for at least 2 weeks, and reveals circadian rhythms in RGC responses over multiple day/night cycles.