Ring attractor dynamics in the Drosophila central brain

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Science  26 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 849-853
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4835

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Representing direction in the fly

A population of cells called compass neurons represents a fruitfly's heading direction. Kim et al. used imaging and optogenetics in behaving flies to elucidate the functional architecture of the underlying neuronal network. They observed local excitation and global inhibition between the compass neurons. The features of the network were best explained by a ring attractor network model. Until now, this hypothesized network structure has been difficult to demonstrate in a real brain.

Science, this issue p. 849