Wei Zhang's group published 'A neural circuit integrates pharyngeal sensation to control feeding' in Cell Reports



•  Pharyngeal PM neurons sense mechanical information during food ingestion

•  IN1 neurons integrate signals from pharynx to regulate meal size

•  IN1 neurons regulate MIP peptide release as a satiety signal

•  IN1 neurons are inhibited by GABAergic neurons in fed flies


Swallowing is an essential step of eating and drinking. However, how the quality of a food bolus is sensed by pharyngeal neurons is largely unknown. Here we find that mechanical receptors along the Drosophila pharynx are required for control of meal size, especially for food of high viscosity. The mechanical force exerted by the bolus passing across the pharynx is detected by neurons expressing the mechanotransduction channel NOMPC (no mechanoreceptor potential C) and is relayed, together with gustatory information, to IN1 neurons in the subesophageal zone (SEZ) of the brain. IN1 (ingestion neurons) neurons act directly upstream of a group of peptidergic neurons that encode satiety. Prolonged activation of IN1 neurons suppresses feeding. IN1 neurons receive inhibition from DSOG1 (descending subesophageal neurons) neurons, a group of GABAergic neurons that non-selectively suppress feeding. Our results reveal the function of pharyngeal mechanoreceptors and their downstream neural circuits in the control of food ingestion.



Paper Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109983