Generating Executable Models of the Drosophila Central Complex

Front Behav Neurosci. 2017 May 30:11:102. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00102. eCollection 2017.


The central complex (CX) is a set of neuropils in the center of the fly brain that have been implicated as playing an important role in vision-mediated behavior and integration of spatial information with locomotor control. In contrast to currently available data regarding the neural circuitry of neuropils in the fly's vision and olfactory systems, comparable data for the CX neuropils is relatively incomplete; many categories of neurons remain only partly characterized, and the synaptic connectivity between CX neurons has yet to be fully determined. Successful modeling of the information processing functions of the CX neuropils therefore requires a means of easily constructing and testing a range of hypotheses regarding both the high-level structure of their neural circuitry and the properties of their constituent neurons and synapses. To this end, we have created a web application that enables simultaneous graphical querying and construction of executable models of the CX neural circuitry based upon currently available information regarding the geometry and polarity of the arborizations of identified local and projection neurons in the CX. The application's novel functionality is made possible by the Fruit Fly Brain Observatory, a platform for collaborative study and development of fruit fly brain models.

Keywords: Drosophila; brain emulation; central complex; visualization.