Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Light activated escape circuits: a behavior and neurophysiology lab module using Drosophila optogenetics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Joshua S. Titlow, Bruce R. Johnson, Stefan R. Pulver

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The neural networks that control escape from predators often show very clear relationships between defined sensory inputs and stereotyped motor outputs. This feature provides unique opportunities for researchers, but it also provides novel opportunities for neuroscience educators. Here we introduce new teaching modules using adult Drosophila that have been engineered to express csChrimson, a red-light sensitive channelrhodopsin, in specific sets of neurons and muscles mediating visually guided escape behaviors. This lab module consists of both behavior and electrophysiology experiments that explore the neural basis of flight escape. Three preparations are described that demonstrate photo-activation of the giant fiber circuit and how to quantify these behaviors. One of the preparations is then used to acquire intracellular electrophysiology recordings from different flight muscles. The diversity of action potential waveforms and firing frequencies observed in the flight muscles make this a rich preparation to study the ionic basic of cellular excitability. By activating different cells within the giant fiber pathway we also demonstrate principles of synaptic transmission and neural circuits. Beyond conveying core neurobiological concepts it is also expected that using these cutting edge techniques will enhance student motivation and attitudes towards biological research. Data collected from students and educators who have been involved in development of the module are presented to support this notion.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A166–A173
JournalJournal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
Volume13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015

    Research areas

  • Optogenetics, Drosophila, Giant fiber escape, Flight muscle, Electrophysiology, Neuroethology

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. An electrically coupled pioneer circuit enables motor development via proprioceptive feedback in Drosophila embryos

    Zeng, X., Komanome, Y., Kawasaki, T., Inada, K., Jonaitis, J., Pulver, S. R., Kazama, H. & Nose, A., 18 Oct 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Current Biology. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Regulation of coordinated muscular relaxation in Drosophila larvae by a pattern-regulating intersegmental circuit

    Hiramoto, A., Jonaitis, J., Niki, S., Kohsaka, H., Fetter, R. D., Cardona, A., Pulver, S. R. & Nose, A., 19 May 2021, In: Nature Communications. 12, 14 p., 2943.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Inexpensive methods for live imaging of central pattern generator activity in the Drosophila larval locomotor system

    Booth, J., Sane, V., Gather, M. C. & Pulver, S. R., 31 Dec 2020, In: Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 19, 1, p. A124-A133

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Segment-specific optogenetic stimulation in Drosophila melanogaster with linear arrays of organic light-emitting diodes

    Murawski, C., Pulver, S. R. & Gather, M. C., 7 Dec 2020, In: Nature Communications. 11, 11 p., 6248.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Narrowband organic light-emitting diodes for fluorescence microscopy and calcium imaging

    Murawski, C., Mischok, A., Booth, J. H., Kumar, J. D., Archer, E., Tropf, L. C., Keum, C., Deng, Y., Yoshida, K., Samuel, I. D. W., Schubert, M., Pulver, S. & Gather, M. C., 5 Sep 2019, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Advanced Materials. Early View, 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Inexpensive methods for live imaging of central pattern generator activity in the Drosophila larval locomotor system

    Booth, J., Sane, V., Gather, M. C. & Pulver, S. R., 31 Dec 2020, In: Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 19, 1, p. A124-A133

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Behavioral observation of xenopus tadpole swimming for neuroscience labs

    Li, W., Wagner, M. A. & Porter, N. J., 2014, In: Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 12, 2, p. A107-A113 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Quenchable Neuroscience: Why JUNE Needs to Focus on Getting Indexed in PubMed

    Pulver, S. R., 2012, In: Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 10, 2, p. E8

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 194346593

Top