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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ronny Rosner
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Genetic manipulations of neuronal activity are a cornerstone of studies aimed to identify the functional impact of defined neurons for animal behavior. With its small nervous system, rapid life cycle, and genetic amenability, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster provides an attractive model system to study neuronal circuit function. In the past two decades, a large repertoire of elegant genetic tools has been developed to manipulate and study neural circuits in the fruit fly. Current techniques allow genetic ablation, constitutive silencing, or hyperactivation of neuronal activity and also include conditional thermogenetic or optogenetic activation or inhibition. As for all genetic techniques, the choice of the proper transgenic tool is essential for behavioral studies. Potency and impact of effectors may vary in distinct neuron types or distinct types of behavior. We here systematically test genetic effectors for their potency to alter the behavior of Drosophila larvae, using two distinct behavioral paradigms: general locomotor activity and directed, visually guided navigation. Our results show largely similar but not equal effects with different effector lines in both assays. Interestingly, differences in the magnitude of induced behavioral alterations between different effector lines remain largely consistent between the two behavioral assays. The observed potencies of the effector lines in aminergic and cholinergic neurons assessed here may help researchers to choose the best-suited genetic tools to dissect neuronal networks underlying the behavior of larval fruit flies.
Author(s): Pauls D, von Essen A, Lyutova R, van Giesen L, Rosner R, Wegener C, Sprecher SG
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/01/2015
Online publication date: 29/10/2014
Acceptance date: 22/10/2014
ISSN (print): 0016-6731
ISSN (electronic): 1943-2631
Publisher: Genetics Society of America
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