Neural Circuitry of Aggression
Like fear, anger is a highly conserved emotion. It is typically expressed as aggression, an innate social behavior with species-specific motor programs. We seek to understand the neural circuits that mediate the "core" behavioral program of aggression, and how those circuits relate to the coding of internal states of aggressive motivation or arousal. What are the sensory cues that trigger aggression, and where and how in the brain are they transformed into a behavioral output? What is the relationship of aggression circuits to those mediating opponent social behaviors, such as mating? Do these circuits involve distinct, overlapping or the same populations of neurons? How is competition between these behaviors controlled, at the circuit level? Finally, how is aggression regulated by environmental factors (e.g., social experience with conspecifics), and by genetic influences? Can we identify the neural substrates of "nature vs. nurture" influences on aggressiveness? We are addressing these questions using genetically based approaches to neural circuit mapping and manipulation, in both Drosophila and mice. We are also studying the control of aggression in males vs. females in these two species. Finally, we are beginning to apply computational approaches to understanding the neural encoding of aggressive behavior and internal states.
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Jung, Y., Kennedy, A., Chiu, H., Mohammad, F., Claridge-Chang, A., and Anderson, D.J. (2020). Neurons that Function within an Integrator to Promote a Persistent Behavioral State in Drosophila. Neuron 105, 322–333.e325.
Duistermars, B.J., Pfeiffer, B.D., Hoopfer, E.D., and Anderson, D.J. (2018). A Brain Module for Scalable Control of Complex, Multi-motor Threat Displays. Neuron 100, 1474–1490.e1474.
Watanabe, K., Chiu, H., Pfeiffer, B.D., Wong, A.M., Hoopfer, E.D., Rubin, G.M., and Anderson, D.J. (2017). A Circuit Node that Integrates Convergent Input from Neuromodulatory and Social Behavior-Promoting Neurons to Control Aggression in Drosophila. Neuron 95, 1112–1128.e1117.
Hoopfer, E.D., Jung, Y., Inagaki, H.K., Rubin, G.M., and Anderson, D.J. (2015). P1 interneurons promote a persistent internal state that enhances inter-male aggression in Drosophila. Elife 4.
Asahina, K., Watanabe, K., Duistermars, B.M., Hoopfer, E.D., Gonzales, C.R., Eyjolfsdottir, E.A., Perona, P., and Anderson, D.J. (2014) Male-specific Tachykinin-expressing neurons control sex differences in levels of aggressiveness in Drosophila. Cell 156:221-35
Wang, L., Han, X., Mehren, J., Hiroi, M., Billeter, J.C., Miyamoto, T., Amrein, H., Levine, J.D., and Anderson, D.J. (2011) Hierarchical chemosensory regulation of male-male social interactions in Drosophila. Nat. Neurosci. 14:757-762
Wang, L., and Anderson, D.J. (2010). Identification of an aggression-promoting pheromone and its receptor neurons in Drosophila. Nature 463, 227-231. [PubMed]
Karigo, T., Kennedy, A., Yang, B., Liu, M., Tai, D., Wahle, I.A., and Anderson, D.J. (2021). Distinct hypothalamic control of same- and opposite-sex mounting behaviour in mice. Nature 589, 258–263.
Stagkourakis, S., Spigolon, G., Liu, G., and Anderson, D.J. (2020). Experience-dependent plasticity in an innate social behavior is mediated by hypothalamic LTP. PNAS 117, 25789–25799.
Kim, D.-W., Yao, Z., Graybuck, L.T., Kim, T.K., Nguyen, T.N., Smith, K.A., Fong, O., Yi, L., Koulena, N., Pierson, N., et al. (2019). Multimodal Analysis of Cell Types in a Hypothalamic Node Controlling Social Behavior. Cell 179, 713–728.e717.
Lo, L., Yao, S., Kim, D.-W., Cetin, A., Harris, J., Zeng, H., Anderson, D.J., and Weissbourd, B. (2019). Connectional architecture of a mouse hypothalamic circuit node controlling social behavior. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.a. 116, 7503–7512.
Remedios, R., Kennedy, A., Zelikowsky, M., Grewe, B.F., Schnitzer, M.J., and Anderson, D.J. (2017). Social behaviour shapes hypothalamic neural ensemble representations of conspecific sex. Nature 550, 388–392.
Lee, H., Kim, D.-W., Remedios, R., Anthony, T.E., Chang, A., Madisen, L., Zeng, H., and Anderson, D.J. (2014). Scalable control of mounting and attack by Esr1(+) neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus. Nature 509, 627–632.
Lin, D., Boyle, M.P., Dollar, P., Perona, P., Lein, E.S. and Anderson, D.J. (2011). Functional identification of an aggression locus in the mouse hypothalamus. Nature 470:179-181