Detection of neurotransmitter changes in the fruit fly

    We have developed a method to detect neurotransmitter changes in the nervous system of larval fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster).  The detection relies on an implanted microelectrode that can detect rapid neurotransmitter changes.  To induce endogenous release,  a light sensitive cation channel is genetically inserted into specific neurons, such as dopamine or serotonin neurons.  We are currently using a red-light activated CsChrimson for all our studies. Then endogenous neurotransmitter release is induced by simply shining a red light on a fly nerve cord and the dynamics of neurotransmission detected electrochemically.  We are currently developing methods to study both serotonin and dopamine release in the fly.  These studies are fast and will allow access to a wide array of genetics that are possible in the fly.  Current investigations include models of Parkinson disease in the fly and how autoreceptor drugs function on the serotonin system.  We are also interested in looking at aging in the fly brain. 
CHR2 mechanism

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