Marco Gallio Processing of temperature stimuli in the brain

Research Interests

The avoidance of unfavorable temperature is a fundamental behavior in the repertoire of all motile animals, from flatworms to whale sharks. Because temperature preference is both innate and species-specific, it is an ideal system to study how behavior emerges from the activity of the brain and how it evolves under selective pressure, allowing animals to colonize new environments. The Gallio Lab studies the molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying temperature sensing and preference in the fruit fly Drosophila and other tractable invertebrates.

How are hot and cold stimuli processed in the brain? How are they integrated with additional sensory streams and internal drives to produce behaviors such as attraction and avoidance? Our initial efforts have been directed at following the full transformation of temperature stimuli in Drosophila: from detection at the periphery to the appearance of directed behavioral responses. Our results help explain how complex temperature responses, often happening on different time scales, can be orchestrated starting from the activity of a simple set of thermosensory receptors. As we moved deeper into the brain, our questions have become more sophisticated. For example, the amount of water in the air (relative humidity) profoundly colors our perception of external temperature: we recently discovered the receptor system in the insect antenna that detects changes in external humidity, and identified a central a substrate for the early integration of temperature and humidity that helps guide flies away from desiccating heat. We are also interested in understanding how sensory conflicts stimuli (attractive odors/ aversive temperature) are resolved in the fly brain through decision making.

Selected Publications

The irritant receptor TRPA1 mediates the mosquito repellent effect of catnip. Melo N, Capek M, Arenas OM, Afify A, Yilmaz A, Potter CJ, Laminette PJ, Para A, Gallio M, and Stensmyr MC. Current Biology. 2021 May 10;31(9):1988-1994.e5.

Robustness and plasticity in Drosophila heat avoidance. Simões JM, Levy JI, Zaharieva EE, Vinson LT, Zhao P, Alpert MH, Kath WL, Para A, and Gallio M. Nature Communications. 2021 April 6;12:2044.

A Circuit Encoding Absolute Cold Temperature in Drosophila. Alpert MH, Frank DD, Kaspi E, Flourakis M, Zaharieva EE, Allada R, Para A, and Gallio M. Current Biology. 2020 June 22;30(12):2275-2288.e5.

Activation of planarian TRPA1 by reactive oxygen species reveals a conserved mechanism for animal nociception. Arenas OM, Zaharieva EE, Para A, Vásquez-Doorman C, Petersen CP, and Gallio M. Nature Neuroscience. 2017 October 16;20(12):1686-1693.

Early Integration of Temperature and Humidity Stimuli in the Drosophila Brain. Frank DD, Enjin A, Jouandet GC, Zaharieva EE, Para A, Stensmyr MC, and Gallio M. Current Biology. 2017 August 7;27(15):2381-2388.e4.

Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain. Frank DD, Jouandet GC, Kearney PJ, Macpherson LJ, and Gallio M. Nature. 2015 March 19;519(7543):358-361.

View all publications by Marco Gallio listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.