Presynaptic inhibition selectively suppresses leg proprioception in behaving Drosophila

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

The sense of proprioception is mediated by internal mechanosensory neurons that detect joint position and movement. To support a diverse range of functions, from stabilizing posture to coordinating movements, proprioceptive feedback to limb motor control circuits must be tuned in a context-dependent manner. How proprioceptive feedback signals are tuned to match behavioral demands remains poorly understood. Using calcium imaging in behaving Drosophila , we find that the axons of position-encoding leg proprioceptors are active across behaviors, whereas the axons of movementencoding leg proprioceptors are suppressed during walking and grooming. Using connectomics, we identify a specific class of interneurons that provide GABAergic presynaptic inhibition to the axons of movement-encoding proprioceptors. These interneurons are active during self-generated but not passive leg movements and receive input from descending neurons, suggesting they are driven by predictions of leg movement originating in the brain. Predictively suppressing expected proprioceptive feedback provides a mechanism to attenuate reflexes that would otherwise interfere with voluntary movement.

Drosophila, Motor control, corollary discharge, efference copy, predictive signaling, presynaptic inhibition, proprioception, ventral nerve cord