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Actively Frozen - contextual modulation of freezing and its neuronal basis

Descrizione del progetto

La ricerca potrebbe svelare ciò che guida gli animali impauriti a fuggire o a rimanere immobili

Quando si trova di fronte a una minaccia, un animale deve decidere se rimanere immobile, riducendo così le probabilità di essere notato, o se fuggire verso un rifugio sicuro. Questa scelta dipende ampiamente dal contesto in cui si presenta la minaccia. Sebbene alcune ricerche recenti abbiano compiuto grandi passi nell’identificare i circuiti premotori e i relativi input che controllano il comportamento dell’immobilizzazione nei roditori, sono stati forniti pochi indizi sul modo in cui le informazioni contestuali guidano la loro scelta. I ricercatori che lavorano al progetto A-FRO, finanziato dall’UE, stanno studiando il modo in cui i moscerini della frutta integrano le informazioni che provengono dall’ambiente e come queste ultime guidino la loro scelta di rimanere immobili o fuggire di fronte a una minaccia.

Obiettivo

When faced with a threat, an animal must decide whether to freeze, reducing its chances of being noticed, or to flee to the safety of a refuge. Animals from fish to primates choose between these two alternatives when confronted by an attacking predator, a choice that largely depends on the context in which the threat occurs. Recent work has made strides identifying the pre-motor circuits, and their inputs, which control freezing behavior in rodents, but how contextual information is integrated to guide this choice is still far from understood. We recently found that fruit flies in response to visual looming stimuli, simulating a large object on collision course, make rapid freeze/flee choices that depend on the social and spatial environment, and the fly’s internal state. Further, identification of looming detector neurons was recently reported and we identified the descending command neurons, DNp09, responsible for freezing in the fly. Knowing the sensory input and descending output for looming-evoked freezing, two environmental factors that modulate its expression, and using a genetically tractable system affording the use of large sample sizes, places us in an unique position to understand how a information about a threat is integrated with cues from the environment to guide the choice of whether to freeze (our goal). To assess how social information impinges on the circuit for freezing, we will examine the sensory inputs and neuromodulators that mediate this process, mapping their connections to DNp09 neurons (Aim 1). We ask whether learning is required for the spatial modulation of freezing, which cues flies are using to discriminate different places and which brain circuits mediate this process (Aim 2). Finally, we will study how activity of DNp09 neurons drives freezing (Aim 3). This project will provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of freezing and its modulation by the environment, from single neurons to behaviour.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Istituzione ospitante

FUNDACAO D. ANNA DE SOMMER CHAMPALIMAUD E DR. CARLOS MONTEZ CHAMPALIMAUD
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 1 969 750,00
Indirizzo
AVENIDA BRASILIA, CENTRO DE INVESTIGACAO DA FUNDACAO CHAMPALIMAUD
1400-038 Lisboa
Portogallo

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Regione
Continente Área Metropolitana de Lisboa Área Metropolitana de Lisboa
Tipo di attività
Research Organisations
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 1 969 750,00

Beneficiari (1)