A simple computer vision pipeline reveals the effects of isolation on social interaction dynamics in Drosophila

Abstract : Isolation profoundly influences social behavior in all animals. In humans, isolation has serious effects on health. Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful model to study small-scale, temporally-transient social behavior. However, longer-term analysis of large groups of flies is hampered by the lack of effective and reliable tools. We built a new imaging arena and improved the existing tracking algorithm to reliably follow a large number of flies simultaneously. Next, based on the automatic classification of touch and graph-based social network analysis, we designed an algorithm to quantify changes in the social network in response to prior social isolation. We observed that isolation significantly and swiftly enhanced individual and local social network parameters depicting near-neighbor relationships. We explored the genome-wide molecular correlates of these behavioral changes and found that whereas behavior changed throughout the six days of isolation, gene expression alterations occurred largely on day one. These changes occurred mostly in metabolic genes, and we verified the metabolic changes by showing an increase of lipid content in isolated flies. In summary, we describe a highly reliable tracking and analysis pipeline for large groups of flies that we use to unravel the behavioral, molecular and physiological impact of isolation on social network dynamics in Drosophila.
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Guangda Liu, Tanmay Nath, Gerit Linneweber, Annelies Claeys, Zhengyu Guo, et al.. A simple computer vision pipeline reveals the effects of isolation on social interaction dynamics in Drosophila. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2018, 14 (8), pp.e1006410. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006410⟩. ⟨inserm-02147126⟩

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