FoxP influences the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision in Drosophila.
DasGupta S., Ferreira CH., Miesenböck G.
Decisions take time if information gradually accumulates to a response threshold, but the neural mechanisms of integration and thresholding are unknown. We characterized a decision process in Drosophila that bears the behavioral signature of evidence accumulation. As stimulus contrast in trained odor discriminations decreased, reaction times increased and perceptual accuracy declined, in quantitative agreement with a drift-diffusion model. FoxP mutants took longer than wild-type flies to form decisions of similar or reduced accuracy, especially in difficult, low-contrast tasks. RNA interference with FoxP expression in αβ core Kenyon cells, or the overexpression of a potassium conductance in these neurons, recapitulated the FoxP mutant phenotype. A mushroom body subdomain whose development or function require the transcription factor FoxP thus supports the progression of a decision toward commitment.