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The coding of temperature in the Drosophila brain.

Thermosensation is an indispensable sensory modality. Here, we study temperature coding in Drosophila, and show that temperature is represented by a spatial map of activity in the brain. First, we identify TRP channels that function in the fly antenna to mediate the detection of cold stimuli. Next, we identify the hot-sensing neurons and show that hot and cold antennal receptors project onto distinct, but adjacent glomeruli in the Proximal-Antennal-Protocerebrum (PAP) forming a thermotopic map in the brain. We use two-photon imaging to reveal the functional segregation of hot and cold responses in the PAP, and show that silencing the hot- or cold-sensing neurons produces animals with distinct and discrete deficits in their behavioral responses to thermal stimuli. Together, these results demonstrate that dedicated populations of cells orchestrate behavioral responses to different temperature stimuli, and reveal a labeled-line logic for the coding of temperature information in the brain.

Pubmed ID: 21335241