Juyoun Yoo,1,2 Mark Dombrovski,1 Parmis Mirshahidi,1 Aljoscha Nern,3 Samuel A. LoCascio,1 S. Lawrence Zipursky,1,* and Yerbol Z. Kurmangaliyev1,4,5,*
1Department of Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA
4Present address: Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02453, USA
*Corresponding author: correspondence to S. Lawrence Zipursky or Yerbol Z. Kurmangaliyev
Advances in brain connectomics have demonstrated the extraordinary complexity of neural circuits. Developing neurons encounter the axons and dendrites of many different neuron types and form synapses with only a subset of them. During circuit assembly, neurons express cell-type-specific repertoires comprising many cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) that can mediate interactions between developing neurites. Many CAM families have been shown to contribute to brain wiring in different ways. It has been challenging, however, to identify receptor-ligand pairs directly matching neurons with their synaptic targets. Here, we integrated the synapse-level connectome of the neural circuit with the developmental expression patterns and binding specificities of CAMs, on pre- and postsynaptic neurons in the Drosophila visual system. To overcome the complexity of neural circuits, we focus on pairs of genetically related neurons that make differential wiring choices. In the motion detection circuit, closely related subtypes of T4/T5 neurons choose between alternative synaptic targets in adjacent layers of neuropil. This choice correlates with the matching expression in synaptic partners of different receptor-ligand pairs of the Beat and Side families of CAMs. Genetic analysis demonstrated that presynaptic Side-II and postsynaptic Beat-VI restrict synaptic partners to the same layer. Removal of this receptor-ligand pair disrupts layers and leads to inappropriate targeting of presynaptic sites and postsynaptic dendrites. We propose that different Side/Beat receptor-ligand pairs collaborate with other recognition molecules to determine wiring specificities in the fly brain. Combining transcriptomes, connectomes, and protein interactome maps allow unbiased identification of determinants of brain wiring.