The head direction circuit of two insect species

Ioannis Pisokas, Stanley Heinze, Barbara Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent studies of the Central Complex in the brain of the fruit fly have identified neurons with activity that tracks the animal's heading direction. These neurons are part of a neuronal circuit with dynamics resembling those of a ring attractor. The homologous circuit in other insects has similar topographic structure but with significant structural and connectivity differences. We model the connectivity patterns of two insect species to investigate the effect of these differences on the dynamics of the circuit. We illustrate that the circuit found in locusts can also operate as a ring attractor but differences in the inhibition pattern enable the fruit fly circuit to respond faster to heading changes while additional recurrent connections render the locust circuit more tolerant to noise. Our findings demonstrate that subtle differences in neuronal projection patterns can have a significant effect on circuit performance and illustrate the need for a comparative approach in neuroscience.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere53985
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020


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