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Monitoring brain activity and behaviour in freely moving Drosophila larvae using bioluminescence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number9246
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018

Abstract

We present a bioluminescence method, based on the calcium-reporter Aequorin (AEQ), that exploits targeted transgenic expression patterns to identify activity of specific neural groups in the larval Drosophila nervous system. We first refine, for intact but constrained larva, the choice of Aequorin transgene and method of delivery of the co-factor coelenterazine and assay the luminescence signal produced for different neural expression patterns and concentrations of co-factor, using standard photo-counting techniques. We then develop an apparatus that allows simultaneous measurement of this neural signal while video recording the crawling path of an unconstrained animal. The setup also enables delivery and measurement of an olfactory cue (CO2) and we demonstrate the ability to record synchronized changes in Kenyon cell activity and crawling speed caused by the stimulus. Our approach is thus shown to be an effective and affordable method for studying the neural basis of behavior in Drosophila larvae.

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